The exotic island of Seychelles known for its pristine beaches reopens borders to all countries worldwide. The much-anticipated news by the tourism industry, considering the recent launch of the immunisation campaign, was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde during a joint press briefing with his counterpart from the Health Ministry, Peggy Vidot.
This announcement has come at a time when the Indian government has signed an air bubble agreement with Seychelles allowing 'Air Seychelles' to fly into the destination from India.
If you're planning to visit Seychelles island anytime soon, keep these important dos and don'ts in mind.
In the first phase of the opening, travellers would be required to produce proof of a valid vaccination certificate from the National Health Authority (minimum of two weeks since administration of the second dose of the vaccine) along with a negative Covid-19 PCR report obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel. These visitors need not quarantine upon arrival to Seychelles.
The Seychelles islands is currently open to Indian visitors through private jet transfers only. Such travellers would be required to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR report obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel. Visitors who haven't taken the complete dose of vaccination or not travelling via private jets, would not be permitted entry into Seychelles. This would be in force until mid-March once Seychelles has vaccinated a large majority of its adult population.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government donated 50,000 doses of a Chinese-manufactured Covid-19 vaccine to Seychelles while the Indian government has offered 1,00,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of January. By the ongoing numbers, the country has forecasted that 25 per cent of its population is likely to be vaccinated by mid-March which would witness the rollout of the second phase of welcoming international tourists to the island nation. The country would open up to all visitors, vaccinated or not. Travellers planning a vacation during this time would only have to present a negative Covid-19 PCR certificate with the test taken maximum of 72 hours prior to departure with no quarantine upon arrival into the country.
Irrespective of when one might travel to Seychelles, visitors have to abide by the existing health measures (like wearing face masks, social distancing etc.) which remain applicable as per the travel advisory published on the Department of Tourism website.
Similarly, all tourism operators would still be required to follow their existing Covid-19 standard operating procedures and protocols.
Speaking of an optimistic future, Lubaina Sheerazi, CEO & Co-founder, BRANDit, the Marketing and PR office for the Seychelles Tourism Board in India said, "2021 has kicked off on a positive note presenting us with a wide scope to promote safe holidays to the Seychelles islands. Until now, the destination was limited to visitors only through private jet transfers but this move will offer a much-needed new option to Indians looking for an international holiday."
The ongoing trend of leisure travel is expected to prosper in the coming months as there is a pent-up demand for long pending vacations with family and friends. Seychelles welcoming tourists with limited restrictions is certainly a positive step towards tourism recovery worldwide.
More details about the new measures are published in the Seychelles Travel Advisory that can be accessed on www.tourism.gov.sc.