Port visit of Transport Minister: spuring people centred development and accomodating greater cruise ship visits
The Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) is finding innovative and transformative approaches as it strives to offer an improved level of service to an important niche tourism market, that of cruise ships visiting the Indian Ocean, and in particular the Seychelles archipelago.
Mr Joël Morgan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport along with his colleague Mr. Michael Benstrong, Minister Responsible for Entrepreneurship and Business Development, toured the port Tuesday 28th April 2014, where they were received by Lieutenant Colonel André Ciseau (CEO of SPA) and briefed on the Port Authority’s plan to transform Port Victoria into the foremost hub of the western Indian Ocean.
Minister Morgan opined, “Seychelles is in pole position to emerge as the cruise ship destination of choice within the Indian Ocean Region.” He further added that increased visits from cruise ships would add to the overall dynamism and resilience of the main pillar of the Seychelles economy- tourism, and that now was the opportune moment to prepare for an exponential increase in cruise ship arrivals to Port Victoria.
As well as improving on services to the port, and in order to ensure that the cruise line industry remains satisfied with the product on offer, Minister Morgan has proposed added and revised regulatory safeguards so as to ensure that safety is not compromised and that high standards are maintained. He called on the Seychelles Maritime and Safety Administration (SMSA) to be rigorous in its approach to assuring these measures and has submitted a working paper to the Cabinet of Ministers to place the management, in terms of boat licenses, directly under the responsibility of the Seychelles Ports Authority.
Lieutenant Colonel Ciseau briefed the Ministers of the proposals to improve the port infrastructure, which will see the existing quay improved and reinforced as well as extended the pier so as to not only better accommodate cruise ships to the port, but as well commercial cargo vessels and other ships which call into the port.
The Ministers were taken on a tour of the port and shown the proposed plan to extend Port Victoria by three hundred metres, an extension which is needed to support the economic development of Seychelles, creating the right atmosphere to spur local businesses.
Ministers Morgan and Benstrong expressed their satisfaction with the overall development plan, (including walkways and small craft shops) of Port Victoria, that would as well generate income for smaller entrepreneurs. The main focus of this program is to place people at the centre of the development of Seychelles, right in the heart of the sea port.
The tour also provided an opportunity for the port management to show a brief video which details the preparations entailed to receive cruise ships into Port Victoria. The video presentation was well received by the visiting Ministers, with them suggesting that port management should have it seen by a wider audience so that the work being done to support cruise ships can be better appreciated by the general public.