With the easing of travel restrictions in Seychelles, the country has been working to welcome its first guests after the outbreak of COVID-19. As part of its cautious approach to re-opening, only visitors going to island resorts will be allowed into the country.
SNA takes a look at island resorts that have been given the green light by the local health authorities and tourism department to start welcoming visitors.
Each island resort had to make sure that they met guidelines set by these authorities, focusing on protecting the health and safety of customers and staff in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff on all these islands have received training on the importance of handwashing and social distancing
A small granitic island located west of Praslin, the second-most populated island, Cousine was the first island resort to get approval from the authorities.
It is a luxury resort with four elegantly designed French colonial luxury villas and a presidential villa. The director of the island told SNA in a previous interview that "all of our staff were made aware of these requirements and have also been following the pandemic on the news."
Since 1992, it has become a private conservation sanctuary and is one of few granitic islands in Seychelles that is entirely free from alien mammals such as feral cats and rats. Native species have successfully been reintroduced to the island, which includes the endangered Seychelles magpie-robin that over the years has seen an increase in its population.
Fregate Island Private
Located 55 kilometres east of the Seychelles' most populated island of Mahe, the private island will be operating at limited capacity with a maximum of 28 guests. Eight villas will be available, as well as the Banyan Hill Estate.
The luxury resort also ensures private helicopter charters from Mahe, private in-villa dining, destination dining around the island rather than in the restaurant, one personal assistant per villa and the assurance that all activities are private to guests.
The island's restaurants will maintain six feet between tables and guest-facing team members will wear personal protective equipment while they work. Offering luxury alongside environmental conscientiousness, the island is home to species such as the giant millipedes, fairy terns and lesser noddies among others.
Located among the inner granitic islands of Seychelles, North Island features 11 private guest villas. The resort has made sure in its standard operating procedure that all public areas are supplied with sanitizers and all surfaces in close contact with food and guests are sanitized regularly, including the personal buggies of guests.
The front office manager of the resort said that "to continue the highest standards of health and safety, our budget has been increased to meet and exceed these guidelines moving forward. North Island's certification was received with gratitude and optimism, as we now very much look forward to welcoming new travellers to a luxury retreat in a safe environment."
A minimum distance of 1.5 metres is to be maintained in the restaurant and villa butlers will visit only when called upon. Activities will be kept private to guests and their families, ensuring contact with other guests is avoided.
Through the Noah's Ark conservation and island rehabilitation programme, rats and introduced species to the island have been eradicated, and strict controls are in place to ensure they don't return. Bird species such as Seychelles blue pigeons, wedge-tailed shearwaters and white-tailed tropicbirds, as well as hawksbill and green turtles, can be sighted on the island.