New Delhi (NVI): The exotic island of Seychelles, known for its pristine beaches, has reopened its borders for travellers who have got a complete dose of Covid vaccination. Such travellers will have to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR report obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel.
The news, much anticipated by the tourism industry, was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde during a joint press brief with his counterpart from the Health Ministry, Peggy Vidot on January 14, 2021, as per an official release.
They stated that this will be executed in a two-step approach by simplifying and relaxing the restrictive measures to relaunch the tourism industry in Seychelles. This follows the recent launch of the immunisation campaign in the small island nation, the release added.
During the first phase of the opening, travellers will be required to produce proof of a valid vaccination certificate from the National Health Authority (minimum of 2 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 will be required to submit a negative PCR report obtained less than 72 hours prior to travel, the release read.
On the other hand, visitors who haven’t taken the complete dose of vaccination or not travelling via private jets, will not be permitted entry into Seychelles. This will be in force until mid-March once the country has vaccinated a large majority of its adult population.
Once the majority of the population in Seychelles is vaccinated, it will open up to all visitors, vaccinated or not. At that times, visitors will only need a negative PCR certificate obtained less than 72 hours prior to departure with no quarantine upon arrival into the country.
The country has forecast that 25 per cent of its population is likely to be vaccinated by mid-March which will witness the roll-out of the second phase of welcoming international tourists to the island nation.
Furthermore, irrespective of when one may travel to Seychelles, visitors have to abide to 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 will still be required to follow their existing COVID-19 standard operating procedure (SOP.)
This announcement come at a time when the government of India has signed an air bubble agreement with Seychelles allowing Air Seychelles to fly into the destination from India.
So far, the UAE government donated 50,000 doses of a China-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine to Seychelles while the Indian government has offered 1,00,000 doses of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine by the end of January, the release noted.
The statement also said that, 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 and welcoming tourists to Seychelles with limited restrictions is a positive step towards tourism recovery worldwide.
CEO & Co-founder, BRANDit, the Marketing and PR office for Seychelles Tourism Board in India, Lubaina Sheerazi said that, “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,” Sheerazi added.
Pertinent to mention here that Seychelles is among the six countries to which India is supplying Covid vaccines. The other five countries are Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh.