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Bernadette Willemin: "Seychelles welcomes all French people, vaccinated or not

Interview with Bernadette Willemin, European Director of the Seychelles Tourism Board



The Seychelles have just reopened their country to tourism from all over the world (except South Africa). French people, vaccinated or not, are welcome. It remains to wait for the lifting of restrictions on international travel on the French side. Bernadette Willemin, European Director of the Seychelles Tourism Board, gives an update on everything that can be done in the country.


Rédigé par Céline EYMERY le Dimanche 28 Mars 2021

Bernadette Willemin: "Our priority is to let people know tIs to let people know that Seychelles is open to visitors from all over the world"- /picture Seychel
Bernadette Willemin: "Our priority is to let people know tIs to let people know that Seychelles is open to visitors from all over the world"- /picture Seychel
TourMaG.com - Seychelles has reopened its borders to tourists from all over the world since 25 March 2021. Can the French travel to the archipelago whether they are vaccinated or not?

Bernadette Willemin
: Indeed, since 25 March 2021, Seychelles welcomes tourists from all over the world except those from South Africa.

On Friday 26 March, the first planes landed with quite decent fillings, which makes us optimistic for the future.

The French, like other nationalities, can therefore come to the archipelago whether they are vaccinated or not.

However, they will have to present themselves with a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old and fill in an online form (Read) in which they will have to provide the test result and a copy of their passport.

At the end of this process, which is very quick, they will receive a travel authorisation to present to the airline.

Travellers must also have covid-19 insurance.

TourMaG.com - In some destinations, the local population has shown some reluctance to open up to tourism during a pandemic. What is the state of mind in the Seychelles?

Bernadette Willemin
: The Seychellois are by nature very welcoming. They are also aware of the economic stakes and they want to get back to their life before covid-19. They are all the more impatient because they are reassured by the vaccination strategy in the country.

48% of the population has received both doses of the vaccine and 90% of the population the first dose. The vaccination campaign is continuing and in a few weeks we will have reached herd immunity.

TourMaG.com - Are there any constraints concerning accommodation and hotels?

Bernadette Willemin
: Travellers must book certified accommodation that has the Safety Label. To date, 1600 accommodations are certified in all categories: hotels, pensions, guest houses...

See the list: Click here

Certified hotels, open restaurants and bars and free movement

TourMaG.com - Once there, travellers can enjoy the destination "normally"?

Bernadette Willemin
: Yes, but they must respect the health protocol: wearing a mask in public places and social distancing in particular. They are free to move around wherever they wish. The only restriction concerns public buses, which are forbidden to them.

However, car rental is allowed. Bars and restaurants are open and also apply sanitary protocols. Museums and gardens are also accessible. As for excursions, activity providers must also be certified.

Travellers can therefore enjoy their stay, respecting the health protocol that has now become a habit for everyone and in all countries.

TourMaG.com - Seychelles is also popular for weddings. Is it possible to get married?

Bernadette Willemin
: Yes of course, weddings are still possible. The only difference is that the whole ceremony must take place outdoors.

TourMaG.com - Do the flight plans of the airlines follow this opening to tourism?

Bernadette Willemin
: Yes, the airlines have responded. Emirates has increased its capacity and now flies daily from Dubai in B777s.

Qatar Airways has increased its seat capacity by positioning the Dreamliner three times a week. Turkish Airlines offers two flights a week from Istanbul and Etihad has resumed its services since 25 March with two flights a week from Abu Dhabi.

We also have Ethiopian and Kenya Airways operating from Africa. The Ethiopian airline will offer a daily flight from Addis Ababa from May. The Kenyan airline has re-launched a weekly flight from Nairobi.

TourMaG.com - Do the flight plans of the airlines follow this opening to tourism?

Bernadette Willemin
: Yes, the airlines have responded. Emirates has increased its capacity and now flies daily from Dubai in a B777.

Qatar Airways has increased its seat capacity by positioning the Dreamliner three times a week. Turkish Airlines offers two flights a week from Istanbul and Etihad has resumed its services since 25 March with two flights a week from Abu Dhabi.

We also have Ethiopian and Kenya Airways operating from Africa. The Ethiopian airline will offer a daily flight from Addis Ababa from May. The Kenyan airline has re-launched a weekly flight from Nairobi.

These airlines are all connected to France and provide connections to the Seychelles via their international hubs. Air France has not scheduled any flights to the Seychelles this summer but should return this winter.

For those living in Switzerland, Edelweiss Air will also fly from Zurich from 3 July.

An expanding flight plan

TourMaG.com - Are the inter-island connections operational?

Bernadette Willemin
: Yes, all routes are operational. There are a few less frequencies but all routes are operational. The programme should increase in correlation with the increase in tourist flows.

The same goes for domestic flights.

TourMaG.com - What about cruises?

Bernadette Willemin
: Cruise ships are not yet allowed to dock in the Seychelles. The authorities are currently working on the health protocol. It should be presented soon and the date of reopening will also be announced. It is expected to be in August 2021. The first Crystal Esprit cruise ship is scheduled for August.

However, catamaran cruises are allowed. The service providers have all been certified.

Les liaisons inter-îles opérationnelles

TourMaG.com - What actions are you going to implement on the French market?

Bernadette Willemin:
The priority is to let people know that the Seychelles are once again open to visitors from all over the world. Obviously we also expect the issuing markets to lift the barriers to travel. In some countries, such as France, travel abroad is still not recommended.

We are preparing a communication plan and are working closely with tour operators and agencies on joint actions.

The Seychelles are accessible all year round and we hope that the French will be able to discover our destination this summer.

TourMaG.com - What are your expectations for 2021?

Bernadette Willemin:
Usually, excluding covid-19, we welcome 45,000 French people per year. We will not reach these levels in 2021. More globally, the Seychelles Tourism Board forecasts 189,000 international visitors in 2021*.

*As a reminder, the Seychelles welcomed 362,000 tourists in 2018, 384,204 in 2019 and 114,858 in 2020.



Céline Eymery Publié par Céline Eymery Rédactrice en Chef - TourMaG.com
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