The Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, is calling for more support for investments in facilities planned to encourage tourists to the islands to spend more, and facilities that at the same time will be a recreational and educational attraction for Seychellois as a whole. “Local financial institutions have a duty to encourage such projects especially when the promoter is a Seychellois,” said Minister St.Ange.
“These such facilities” he said, “will help to increase the yield we get from the tourism sector.”
Minister St.Ange made this appeal after visiting an attractive and sophisticated tropical marine aquarium project that is being built at Eden Plaza on Eden Island.
Minister St.Ange was accompanied to the aquarium project by the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune; the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken; and the Director for International Cooperation in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Miera Savy.
At the new aquarium project at Eden Plaza he met and talked to the promoter, Charles Savy, who designed and built the aquarium. Discussions were centered on the challenges facing such new developments seen as tourism-related projects, especially with regards to access to finance.
“There is a need for us to back up such tourism-supporting projects like this one, and we must encourage our local banks to support these such initiatives as they are a plus to our tourism industry,” Minister St.Ange said.
The setting up of this aquarium follows the call made by Minister St.Ange and recommendations by the International Monetary Fund, to create value-added products for visitors to the Seychelles’ shores to enjoy and at which they can spend their holiday dollar.
Eden Aquarium is 100% Seychellois designed and built, making it a unique attraction in the country.
Scheduled to open to the public in the third quarter of 2014, Eden Aquarium is set to develop as part of the tourism industry infrastructure and become a major attraction not only for tourists but also for the locals and residents alike.
Once operational, Eden Aquarium will start up an educational program for school children aimed at making them aware of the importance of looking after the environment as a whole and to learn to enjoy it as well. This will be done through various activities that will be organized by the team at the aquarium. The promoter, Charles Savy, has spent almost two years building this attractive aquarium. Mr. Savy is a respected veteran of the underwater world in Seychelles who has dived in Seychelles for more than 35 years.
For the past eighteen years he has successfully created and run his own live-aboard dive charter operation, King Bambo Charters. Mr. Savy holds a BSC in Mechanical Engineering, with an additional two-and-half years of research in Applied Mechanics from the Department of Computational & Applied Mechanics from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
In the designing and building of this aquarium, Mr. Savy was aided by his Seychellois King Bambo Charters team, and they were initially assisted by contractors from VIJAY Construction and Dr. David Rowat of the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles.
This project is seen as a powerful example of indigenous resourcefulness, technical innovation and expertise, and know-how and determination.
Pricing for entry into the aquarium will allow residents to pay a very affordable one-off annual fee which will allow them in as many times as they wish over the year of subscription.
As for visitors to Seychelles, pricing for entry will allow them multiple access into the aquarium over a period of one month.
For such tourism-related developments to take place, financial institutions need to ease access to funding for such businesses, because if local innovations are not encouraged, this can significantly discourage the development of tourism initiatives such as the Eden Aquarium project.
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