As restrictions are lifted on the island nation and life slowly resumes to some degree of normality, tourism establishments are trying to attract a new audience: Seychellois residents.
Since the opening of the international airport in July 1971, tourism has been the main pillar of the economy. Last year 384,204 tourists came to the islands, the majority of whom were European.
The reverberations of COVID-19 -- the shutdown of borders and the near-total drop-off in international air travel -- has had a massive impact on countries like Seychelles - 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - which depend heavily on tourism for its economy.
Faced with empty establishments, hotels, guest houses and self-catering apartments are turning to residents to generate income. A number of special offers are now available from establishments on the main and outer islands.
Hilton Seychelles Resort and Spa is offering local a private pool experience, from 12 pm to 6 pm. For $200, a couple can enjoy a three-course meal served at the private pool villa accompanied by a bottle of sparkling wine. And at a reduced rate, the couple can also spend the night at the resort.
Le Duc de Praslin - based on the second-most important island of Praslin-- is offering locals a resident weekend promotion at the newly opened ocean wing, one night for $168, 2 nights for $280 and 3 nights for $335.
Also on promotional rates are villas, with private pools and butler service. Ranging in price for a three-bedroom villa, residents can pay $335 inclusive of breakfast to $855 for a deluxe villa which also includes its own private gym.
Robert Payet - the owner of Le Duc de Praslin - told SNA that despite visitors not coming to Seychelles for now, it is important to keep the hotel to some degree operational.
"We cannot sit and keep everything closed left to rust. At the end of the day there are still utilities to be paid and we do have in store a variety of perishable products that need to be used, and now the locals can enjoy," said the hotelier.
Payet added that additional offers include a free drink, 50 percent off spa rates, free use of the in-house gym and car hire rates at $27 per day.
These promotions are being featured on social media and on a newly created Facebook page Seychelles: come and stay with us.
"The aim of this group is simply to offer a platform for all locally owned establishments (small to medium) to advertise their guest houses. Please add pictures, brief description and website of your establishments. We hope to increase the visibility of what we have to offer in terms of accommodation in Seychelles. Let us ensure our survival post-COVID 19," the admin of the page on Facebook wrote.
For those looking for a different experience, the Silhouette Cruise is offering a weekend getaway at sea for $280 on a full board basis. The offer also includes access to different beaches, marine parks as well as water sports activities such as kayaking, snorkelling and bottom-line fishing.
Still, even with special offers available, some Seychellois don't appear interested.
"It is good to see these promotions but I personally will not go for it, with so much uncertainty in the economy, I think it is wise to see how money is spent," said teacher Jenifer Payet.
Roy Banane told SNA that these offers are good but could be better. " I think these offers could be lower as when you look for instance if you are going to Praslin, you factor in the flight, car rental and other costs, especially if you are a family, this can be a hefty expense,".
Another person whom SNA spoke to said "these establishments have no choice but to do these specials as they need to generate some sort of revenue instead of having nothing at all," said Micheal Sabadin.