The Seychelles Regatta sailing competition returns to the island nation's shores next year after a five-year break, a top tourism official said on Monday.
The event, which is organised by a France-based company - Publi Voile - in collaboration with local authorities, will take place from May 27 to June 3. This is the time of the southeast trade winds, which provide winds of between 15 to 20 knots.
Minister for Tourism Maurice Loustau-Lalanne said that the 4th edition of the Seychelles Regatta sailing competition will be different compared to the previous ones.
"This time the event will uphold international standards and will see foreign sailors who have participated in competitions around the world," said Loustau-Lalanne.
The sailing competition, which is also open to local sailors, is targeting around 10 international skippers and already five have confirmed their participation. Sailors have until January to register and more information is available on the Seychelles Regatta website: www.theseychellesregatta.com
The chair of the Seychelles Yachting Association, Alain Alcindor, said that timely registration is important for logistical purposes.
The Seychelles Regatta started in 2009 and took place for three consecutive years until 2011.
Minister Loustau-Lanne said it was discontinued for various reasons but now the event is back and "is very important for us, as it goes well with the Seychelles image and we need to try and do this annually."
The aim of the regatta is to offer a balance of a rigorous sailing competition and tourism by encouraging a discovery of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
For the 2018 edition, the participants will set sail from the Eden Island Marina on the eastern coast of the main island Mahe. Other islands such as Praslin, the second-most populated island, Silhouette and Fregate are among those included on the itinerary.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, said that the competition is another way to boost tourism as there will be international press covering the event.
"Our aim is also to push Seychelles as a watersport destination. Other than other means of travelling, the sailing competition is another way for visitors to discover the beauty of our distinct islands," added Francis.