Daily US Times: As a measure to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the Seychelles is taking the bold step of banning all cruise ship tourism through the end of 2021.
The East Africa island nation’s Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley made the decision. The nation’s largest newspaper the Seychelles Nation reports.
Tourism is the second biggest industry in the Seychelles after commercial fishing, according to the World Bank.
In 2013, the Seychelles joined with several other Indian Ocean islands, including Madagascar, Réunion and Mauritius to form the Vanilla Islands Tourism Organization to encourage travel in the region and combine their marketing and publicity efforts.
The Seychelles is a popular destination for celebrities, who have enjoyed the country’s bright-blue waters and private villas over the years.
After their marriage in 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned there as so did George and Amal Clooney in 2014.
It is still unclear whether the Seychelles will continue to allow travelers to come into the country by air.
However, the decision will have big impact in the country as losing cruise ships likely means the economy will take a huge hit. Dogley has announced some benefits to help tour operators, resorts, hotels and other businesses who will be affected by the decision, including soft loans and government guarantees.
Still, travelers who had hoped to escape to the islands in 2020 or 2021 will likely have other options for their vacations.
The European Union has already started talking about when to open internal borders, and some countries — including Italy and Greece — have already announced plans to restart tourism for the summer 2020 season.
Another possible model is “travel bubbles,” where neighboring countries will permit tourism between their nations while ramping up their number of flights and hotel rooms.
The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia now have one in place, with New Zealand and Australia discussing plans to establish another.
How the pandemic change travel
The coronavirus pandemic will have a huge impact on travel industry.
The British government announced last week what it called a “once in a generation” investment to change the way Britain gets around. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ordered local authorities of the country to make “significant changes” to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.
He said he would be setting up a £250 million emergency fund to encourage what he called “active travel”.
Mr Shapps said the money was the first installment of a £2bn package for walking and cycling, part of a £5bn investment that was announced in February.
But most of the new measures involve restricting the access of car and other motor vehicles. Some motorists see what is happening as a land grab, conducted under the cover of covid and designed to create “new facts on the ground”.