The exotic island of Seychelles known for its pristine beaches re-opens borders to all countries worldwide with immediate effect. The much-anticipated news by the tourism industry considering the recent launch of the immunization campaign was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde during a joint press brief with his counterpart from the Health Ministry, Mrs. Peggy Vidot on Thursday, January 14, 2021. 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.
In 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 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 will 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, will not be permitted entry into Seychelles. This will be in force until mid-March once Seychelles has vaccinated a large majority of its adult population.
Mid- March Onwards
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government donated 50,000 doses of a China-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine to Seychelles while the Indian government has offered 100,000 doses of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine by the end of January. By the ongoing numbers, the country has forecasted that 25% 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. The country will open up to all visitors, vaccinated or not. Travellers planning a vacation during this time will 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 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 and protocol.
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. 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.
Speaking of an optimistic future, Lubaina Sheerazi, CEO & Co-founder, BRANDit, the Marketing and PR office for 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”.