Following the announcement that Seychelles will ban cruise ships until 2022 to prevent the arrival of COVID-19 by sea, Rheanna Norris, Associate Analyst GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers the following analysis:
“The decision to ban cruise ships from visiting the Seychelles via its Victoria port could spark a major downturn for this tourism-reliant economy. Cruise ships do not only bring visitors to its 115 islands, but also encourages spending on entertainment and foodservice, alongside accommodation and inspiration for repeat trips.
“Arrivals to the Seychelles via cruise ships quadrupled between 2017 and 2018, with further increases forecasted for 2020 and beyond. This new legislation will eradicate this increase and the islands will rely on tourism by air travel only.
“According to GlobalData, tourism accounted for 25.5% of the Seychelles’ GDP in 2019, making it one of the most tourism dependent countries in the world. Alongside existing travel restrictions and a global slowdown in travel, banning cruise ships is further bad news for this luxury destination.
"This strategic move will help the Seychelles’ other key economic sector: fishing. As its port in Victoria is its only point of entry for the rest of the world, its priority is to not compromise the maritime industry and to protect the nation from the global pandemic at all costs.
“The Seychelles still have a point of entry for tourism via air, and it has already embarked on the road to recovery. With assistance from the government, civil society and Seychelles Investment Board, tourism businesses can look to adapt to the future and inevitable changes in travel.”
Prior to Covid-19, the cruise industry had been experiencing record growth, including 124 ocean-going cruise ships on order, an investment of about US$69 billion. Wybcke Meier, CEO of Tui Cruises, told the newspaper The Telegraph “I am convinced that in the long-term the demand for premium and luxury cruises will not change....we will see the demand for cruises return to pre-crisis level within 12 to 18 months.”
The Government of Seychelles Cabinet of Ministers has approved the incorporation of the extended continental shelf of the Northern plateau region (north of the Seychelles Bank) under Seychelles’ jurisdiction. This measure extends territorial waters by around 14,840 square kilometres, or about 32 timesthe size of the entire landmass of Seychelles.
The new area differs from the Exclusive Economic Zone and lays outside of this area. Seychelles does not have the same rights as within the EEZ, but has sovereignty over its resources.
The establishment of three maritime spaces, to which Seychelles is entitled under International Law, were endorsed by the Cabinet: the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, and the revised EEZ
The territorial sea is the coastal waters extending ro 12 nautical miles from low-water under the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). The next 12 nautical miles is known as the contiguous zone and finally, the EEZ extends from low-water to a maximum of 200 nautical miles. A country has different layers of authority depending on the zone.
A U.N. ruling has extended Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone by 14,840 square kilometres, about 30 times the entire landmass of the archipelago. The area is said to consist of seabed and subsoil that is possibly suitable for resource exploration.
The chief executive of PetroSeychelles, Patrick Joseph, described the extension as “an additional area where we can conduct research for resources under the sea, for example, oil exploration. We don’t know if there is but we have the opportunity now to do the research because the area is now ours.”
Vice President Meriton said, “There is now the possibility to work towards getting more data with our international partners and then invite people who are interested to see what can potentially be exploited in the area, of course on a sustainable basis, to ensure that anything we find can be used for the economic and social development of our country,” added Meriton.
Seychelles is also in the process of claiming an area around the remote island of Aldabra and together with Mauritius, jointly manages part of the Mascarene Plateau.
For more details see the following link:
Seychelles News Agency