The Seychelles’ tourism department has established a national classification system for tourism establishments in an effort to raise standards and to allow visitors to know what level of quality to expect.
The Department worked in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to draft the classification system through a consultancy which ensures that the criteria adhere to international levels.
Under the classification system, establishments will be rated depending on the number of rooms and will be given a ranking assignment as Seychelles Secrets Bronze, Silver or Gold.
According to the Seychelles News Agency, the system forms part of a bill that the tourism department has developed and approved in the most recent Cabinet Meeting.
The Tourism Development Bill 2018 aims at ensuring that the functions of the department are guided by law. These functions were legally still the responsibility of the Seychelles Tourism Board.
Currently, Seychelles has no national criteria to rank tourism establishments. However, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, told SNA recently that hotels are either self-classifying themselves or tour operators are doing it for them.
“It does not necessarily mean that two tour operators will rate one establishment in the same way,” said Lafortune
Setting equal criteria to rate establishments will eliminate this problem, she said. Classification will be done in two categories. Hotels with above 15 rooms and island resorts will be ranked between one to five stars while establishments with 15 and fewer rooms will be ranked as Seychelles Secrets Bronze, Silver and Gold.
“Big hotels have larger facilities and are better equipped whereas the small ones do not have these facilities which makes it unfair to compare them. We do not expect a small guest house to have a swimming pool or a tennis court and restaurant,” said Lafortune.
“Even if we were doing these things under the department, the STB Act had not yet been amended, meaning that STB was still legally responsible for these functions. We needed to regulate this and this is why we drafted the Tourism Development Bill,” explained Lafortune.
Following approval by the Cabinet of Ministers, the bill, which took over two years to finalise, will go before the National Assembly to become law.
“We want the bill to be submitted to the National Assembly and approved this semester. Should this happen implementation of the classification system will take place in January next year,” said Lafortune.