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.”