Authorities in Seychelles eye new controls on beach vendors renting umbrellas and sun beds

Authorities in Seychelles will take steps to prevent people without a permit from renting out material for beach-goers like umbrellas and sun loungers, said a top official.

The Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Port and Marine, Didier Dogley, told SNA on Tuesday that this step will be taken as the concerned authorities have observed that the situation is getting out of hand.

He said that the beachfront in certain places are becoming like a market place.

Based on the different surveys that we have conducted with visitors it is clear that they come to Seychelles for tranquillity and to relax. We know that our beaches are the first assets we use to promote Seychelles. We don’t want our beach to be overcrowded with a lot of umbrellas with beach beds and fewer places for tourists to enjoy. We need to have a means of control, said Dogley.

He added that we need to protect our unique selling points that we use when we go abroad to promote Seychelles as a tourism destination. If we are destroying this industry it makes it even hard for us at the ministry to do our job.

Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

The chairperson of the Praslin Business Association, Christopher Gill, said in an interview with Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) recently that the ad-hic businesses can have a negative impact on the image that Seychelles is trying to show to the world.

The beaches in Seychelles cannot become like a marketplace. When you are confusing our beaches with a marketplace we are simply destroying an industry which is feeding our kids, said Gill.

He said that it starts with beach beds and later on we will leave space for other activities without a permit to take place. This is not a way to do business. This is called hawking.

There are already registered businesses offering this service. Passion Service, owned by entrepreneur Ricky Sultan, is one of them.

I am renting beach beds at Beau Vallon Beach, which is very popular among holidaymakers. These types of innovations should not be left behind in Seychelles as it exists in all places favoured by tourists, he said.

Sultan came up with the idea to establish the beach bed business a year ago after doing extensive research and that there is potential for it here.

The entrepreneur said that I don’t see any reason why some people will consider this as hawking and the same as illegal vendors in the market.

On the issue of how to separate those with a permit and those without one, he said that the government needs to have proper criteria to do so as some of us are registered and therefore legal under the law. What can be done is set a limit on the number of people doing this business as a form of control.”

Sultan pointed out that tourists have a choice on whether or not they want to rent a beach bed and this should be factored in before actions are taken to stop the business.

Source: Seychelles News Agency