The Seychelles News Agency has reported that after a positive COVID 19 test, there will be special hotel facilities for tourists who need quarantine. On each of the three main islands, at least one hotel will be designated as a quarantine facility to accommodate only tourists who need to be kept isolated. This means that a decision to quarantine does not mean the end of the family holiday. During the quarantine period, they can use all the amenities of the hotel, although their movements are naturally restricted.
Translation of the original:
Seychelles News Agency
If a tourist in the Seychelles tests positive, that person, together with their partner/family, will be taken to an identified quarantine facility according to medical procedures already explicit and communicated, in order to continue their holiday under strict but acceptable conditions. This will protect both the person and the community. Naturally, extremely robust staff and service procedures will be implemented at the hotel.
A major advantage is that, first and foremost, the facilities identified would help to reduce the amount of resources that would otherwise be required to track and manage such cases through the MOH (Ministry of Health). These resources would be concentrated, which is not only cost-effective and efficient, but also reduces the risk of error.
There is also a significant benefit to public relations, as by providing a hotel environment for limited and recreational visitors, we create greater confidence in other potential visitors. Not to mention that we are also creating a "world first" and setting a new benchmark for responsible tourism. We are not reopening to see our facilities left empty, and anything we can do to reduce the risk of ruined holidays due to infection is, in our view, welcomed by our markets and should be reflected in visitor numbers.
While hotels and establishments have reviewed their SOPs and protocols in the context of the "new normality", we all need to focus on providing a guest experience as close as possible to the "old normality" at this point in time. Tourists who invest in a dream holiday after many weeks of closure do not want to be accommodated in a hotel that resembles and functions more like a hospital than a holiday home.
The Chief Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, told reporters: "The reality is that as soon as a person becomes positive, they must be isolated. The question is whether they will be isolated in the hotel where they are or we will be isolated. It has been decided that for a tourist who tests positive, it is preferable to be placed in a separate facility. This facility must be equivalent to a hotel, because these people are here on holiday and need a facility that is comfortable so as not to ruin their holiday completely.
It is obvious that the only establishment that can offer an experience similar to that of a hotel, ............. is a hotel!
We can therefore assume that there will be at least one hotel on each of the three main islands, with the sole purpose of providing a safe (for all Parties) and to offer a pleasant stay, which unfortunately can be tested upon arrival or during the COVID-positive examination your holiday.
"We would like to give a tourist the guarantee that if the person tests positive during their stay, but does not show symptoms, they can continue their holiday, but cannot talk to other due persons at the risk of transmitting the virus ", she added.
Increasingly, tourists are looking for security before completing their travel plans. The tourism industry's wise response is to offer it while ensuring health protocols are in place. Just think of Emirates' move, where every passenger who has signed a contract with COVID-19 after flying with the airline has their medical costs covered by Emirates up to a total of 150,000 euros. Our programme may not be quite as great, but it will, in the words of Mrs Cardon (President of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association), provide the assurance that "if they test positive in the Seychelles, they can still enjoy their holiday.
As we look at Emirates, many members have expressed concern about the additional testing costs that will apply from 1 August - not only to allow tourists to enter Seychelles (a decision by our own PH authorities), but also about the requirements of the UAE's airport authority to insist on a test before a tourist leaves Seychelles.
On the Emirates website, there is a section entitled "Your Security" on the home page that provides access to the logs for all persons who travel from, to, or through the Airport Dubai travel.
"From August 1, 2020, all passengers arriving in Dubai from any destination, including passengers arriving in Dubai - including transit - must have a negative COVID 19 test certificate in order to be accepted on the flight. The test must be taken no more than 96 hours before departure. This does not apply to children under 12 years of age and passengers with moderate or severe disabilities. “
A very positive result of this new protocol is that an untested passenger travelling to a destination where no testing is required (e.g. Maldives) can no longer sit next to a (tested) person travelling to a destination where testing is required (e.g. Seychelles). This makes the journey much safer than before.
SHTA says that the Government is fully aware of the impact of external testing costs and has agreed that there will be accessible testing facilities on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. As test volumes increase, we will benefit from the economies of scale that this will bring. This means that the current cost of currently 5400 Scr per person, which is calculated for relatively few tests actually performed, will decrease significantly once (possibly) hundreds of tests are performed per day.
We also know that the government will announce before the end of this week how these high additional costs, which will be crucial for potential passengers, could benefit not only the passengers but also our tourism industry.
As SHTA has regularly stated since the beginning of the pandemic - when tourism returns, we must do everything possible to make Seychelles an attractive destination for tourists with minimal bureaucracy, additional costs and obstacles, while ensuring a high level of health security for all.
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