The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne has welcomed the setting up a new association for tour guides in Seychelles.
The Minister attended the launching of the Seychelles Tour Guide Association at the CEPS Conference Room at Orion Mall on Tuesday.
The Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, Chief Executive of the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA), Andre Pool, Principal of the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA), Flavien Joubert, and other officials of the tourism department, STA and SLA were also in attendance.
The interim committee presented the association’s constitution to those present at the meeting, which was also called to elect the new executive committee of the Seychelles Tour Guide Association.
The election did not take place, however, as there were only a dozen tour guides present. Another meeting has been set for March 15, 2018, where all tour guides will be invited to attend and elect the seven members of the executive committee.
Efforts to set up a tour guide association in Seychelles has been ongoing for more than 15 years.
Cyril Payette who has been leading a caretaker committee that has been working to set up the new association for the past three and a half years said the platform will allow greater collaboration for the benefit of all tour guides.
Those present at Tuesday’s meeting took the opportunity to raise a number of concerns including poor condition of certain trails, lack of security among others.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said that the government has taken a decision to work on improving the condition of 15 trails found on Mahé, Praslin, La Digue, and Silhouette that are included in a Hiking Guide launched by the Seychelles Tourism Board last year, after which work will move to the other trails.
On the aspect of security, aside of security officers guarding the trails, the Minister also provided copies of a leaflet prepared by the tourism department, giving useful tips to hikers, which the guides can share with tourists.
Both Minister Loustau-Lalanne and PS Lafortune affirmed their commitment to work with the new association, as it provides the perfect platform for discussions on issues affecting tour guides, as they endeavour to improve the service they offer.
“The tourism ministry also remains committed to providing more training for new guides and refresher courses for practicing tour guides to guarantee that they continue to provide a high standard of service to the visitors, ensuring that tourists are satisfied and obtain value for money,” said the minister.
A three-day training organised by the tourism department and delivered by the Seychelles Tourism Academy is one of the prerequisites for prospective tour guides before they can apply for a license.
The majority of tour guides in Seychelles have got their own private business. Presently, there are some 70 licensed tour guides working on Mahé, around 30 on Praslin and another 10 on La Digue.