Seychelles invites more Indian tourists to the archipelago

Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean, has extended an open-arm invitation to investors in Eastern India, particularly West Bengal, to put their money in several attractive sectors,including the “enormously promising” hospitality industry. ” We specially look forward to tie-ups with those engaged in this sector, even in these difficult times,” said High Commissioner of Seychelles in India William Waven while speaking to a group of industrialists during an Interactive Session here today. ‘ With a population of only 90,000, Seychelles may appear insignificant to a country of 1.3 billion,’ he said adding “But, it is where treasures lie”. “A beautiful country and strategically located Seychelles is very close to the Gulf and lies some 1,500 km east of mainland Africa. That’s a huge opportunity for private investors from West Bengal as well,” Mr Waven said. The High Commissioner, who looks after as many as nine countries,including India, Australia and Sri Lanka, has been meeting various business leaders and tour operators in the city during his two-day maiden visit to the city. Admitting that connectivity between India and Seychelles continued to remain an area of concern,the High Commissioner regretted the absence of any direct flight between any Indian city and Seychelles. With several prominent tourism destinations in South East Asia getting saturated, Seychelles must step up efforts to have easier connectivity with Kolkata and other major Indian cities soon, he said and maintained that “We are even open to the idea of holding dialogues with low-cost airliners such as Indigo and Spicejet’. ‘ We also need to set up swanky restaurants, shopping malls and leisure parks in the 15-20 islands of the archeopelago,’he said and hoped that they would ‘grab the fancy of tourists in this region and galvanise the industry in both countries,” he said. “Currently about 200,000 tourists visit the island nation every year despite the global economic crisis,’ he said and hoped that the number could go up substantially. ‘ If Dubai can attract five million tourists a year, why can’t Seychelles,” he wondered. Among the potential areas for investment in Seychelles are renewable energy, machinery manufacturing,ICT, financial services food processing and agri products,packaging industry, besides the IT and Financial services, Mr Waven said and invited Indian businesses to help explore oil as well.”I guess we are sitting on gold mines. You are welcome to help us,” he said. Referring to the small volume of trade between India and Seshellyes,the High Commissiioner said among the items exported to his country from India were beverages,cereals,grains, textiles, mineral products, base metals, machinery and mechanical appliances,automobiles and associated transport equipment,Mr Waven informed. Among major investment made by any Indian company was by Bharti Airtel which has invested over 25 million USD for installing Airtel mobile telephone and internet services in Seychelles since 1998. Mr Nandu Belani,Honorary Consul General of Seychelles in Kolkata and Dr Saugat Mukherjee, Regional Director, CII Eastern Region, were also present. Source : News Webindia