Seychellois James Wong is the new Anglican Archbishop of the Indian Ocean province, the second Bishop of the Diocese of Seychelles to be elected for the position.
Archbishop Wong, who succeeds Ian Ernest from Mauritius, told reporters that this new responsibility will have him overseeing parishes in Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles.
Wong was among a group of religious leaders whom President Danny Faure granted Seychelles citizenship earlier this year.
In his a message of congratulations, Faure said, “On behalf of the government and the people of Seychelles I wish to convey my heartiest and warm congratulations to you on your election as the Archbishop of the Indian Ocean.”
Faure said, “Seychelles is proud, and we pray that God strengthens your pastoral zeal and fills you with courage and wisdom as you continue to dedicate your life service to the church in your new responsibilities.”
The new Archbishop said his priority is to better understand and work with the parishes in Madagascar whom he said is a big country with a complex culture.
“Some time ago there was a conflict in one of the churches in Madagascar. It took us three years to resolve the issue. It was only after this that we understood that in the Malagasy culture they have their own traditional ways of resolving conflicts which we were not aware and which could have saved us a lot of time and resources,” said Wong.
The new Archbishop said that this will be his challenge -- to better understand the Malagasy culture and before the end of this year he will be visiting the island to implement his plan of action.
Wong is proposing a province for Madagascar and said that “if all goes well, there will be a province for Madagascar and a Province regrouping Mauritius and Seychelles. It will be like what the Catholic Church has -- the Episcopal Conferences of Indian Ocean.”
He added that the Anglican Church from Reunion – a French department in the region -- will soon join the Province.
Bishop Wong was elected Archbishop last Sunday during the Provincial Synod in Curepipe, Mauritius, succeeding Ernest, who held the responsibility for eleven years.
Wong was consecrated as Diocesan Bishop in April 2009. Wong was previously the Archdeacon of Mauritius and the Rector of St Thomas' of Beau Bassin. He took over the Seychelles Anglican Diocese in 2009 from Santosh Marray who was the third Bishop of the Anglican Church in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
With the aim of capitalizing on growing interest in Seychelles among holidaymakers in the Middle East region, the Seychelles Tourism Board is aiming to create more brand awareness to further position the island nation as a destination of choice in that region.
According to statistics, over 20, 000 visitors from the Middle East have travelled to the Seychelles Islands from January to July this year. This represents a growth of 30 percent.
The United Arab Emirates is one market that is doing remarkably well. Currently standing as the third main source market, the UAE has sent 18,574 visitors to Seychelles up to 20th August, representing a 24 percent increase.
Aiming to keep the tourism numbers growing, the STB’s regional office in Dubai is getting ready to launch a series of marketing initiatives ranging from outdoor advertising as well as taxi, SMS and YouTube advertising campaigns.
The campaigns will be launched in several regions of the Middle-East, namely in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia – mainly in Riyadh and Jeddah, Kuwait, Qatar & Bahrain.
STB’s regional manager for the Middle East Ahmed Fathallah said “for the past several years one of our main strategies was to educate the trade partners with Seychelles’ unique selling points, however the market needs has changed wherein it is now more consumer driven.”
“With this we are adapting on the trend and we are positive that this will meet our objectives and return on investment will be quantifiable on the later stage through the number of visitors to Seychelles,” he added.
The majority of the campaigns will run for a little over two months, mainly between September and October.
For the outdoor advertising campaign, 23 double sided MUPI advertising panels will be launched at 3 business communities in Dubai. This is a mass marketing campaign where several artworks depicting key scenes of the Seychelles will be portrayed featuring tags translated into Arabic.
Aimed at captivating the attention of as many on the go consumers in Dubai, the taxi campaign will see some 50 taxis being fully branded with artworks depicting the Seychelles sceneries and the STB logo.
Targeting online consumers in the 25 to 60 age group, a 20-seconds non-skippable clip of the Seychelles will be featured on YouTube. The advertising campaign will be focussed on encouraging bookings and will be targeting potential travellers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar & Bahrain.
The SMS campaign is one that will run for one year, where ‘Seychelles TB’ will be the sender ID used to try and take advantage of the peak travel seasons in Middle East including the EID holiday, to drive more travellers to Seychelles.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs. Sherin Francis said: “It is important that we constantly look for ways to reach out to the discerning travellers as part of our strategy, so that we remain top of mind. For our source markets this strategy is as important as our trade relationships.”
“In the case of UAE and the Middle East region, they are source markets with good air connectivity, ideal for both short and long weekend breaks, given that we are visa-free. I believe that as a destination we should be able to appeal to the travellers from there,” she added.
Aside of the UAE, other Middle Eastern countries are also performing well in spite of not sending impressive number of visitors to Seychelles.
Arrivals from Qatar have increased by 167 percent with 2,369 visitors having disembarked in Seychelles from January to July this year, compared to 886 during the same period in 2016.
As for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain the arrival numbers have increased by 12 percent and 22 percent respectively.
Saudi Arabia has sent 1,465 visitors to Seychelles from January to July compared to 1,313 during the same period in 2016, while visitor arrivals from Bahrain stands at 396 for the first seven months of the year, compared to only 324 during the same period in 2016.
Sherin Francis, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, had headed to Seoul in Korea for what is being described as a “major mission” for the period August 28 to September 2.
The working visit by Mrs. Francis coincides with the 10th anniversary celebration of the Seychelles Tourism Office in Seoul. “This is a perfect opportunity to get added visibility and ensure we stay relevant in Korea. Seychelles has developed with success a working program to continue to diversify its source markets and Korea remains on the list with great potential,” said Sherin Francis as she prepared to travel to Seoul.
On Tuesday, August 29, a Seychelles-Korea Food & Cultural Exchange Event with Creole and Korean Chef will be at the center of promotional event before a press meeting which will be followed by one-to-one interviews.
The Seychelles Tourism Board is using the island’s Creole culture to galvanize visibility during this working visit.
On Wednesday, August 30, Mrs. Francis will be hosting the tourism trade partners with Creole Cuisine Banquet with one to one meetings which will end with the signing of cooperation and exchange MOU with the Seoul Tourism Association.
Sherin Francis, the CEO of the Tourism Board, has interviews already set with The Korea Travel News, The Travel Times, and Chosun Daily Newspaper.
The celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Korea Office will be held on the evening of August 30, with 120 attendees of media, travel trades, tourism friends of Seychelles, and important opinion leader groups. The invitees will be treated to Seychelles Creole cuisine where a 5-course dinner menu will be served, accompanied by a Seychellois rum-based cocktail.
On August 29, a Master cooking class will be hosted and will be staged and co-hosted by the “Korean Food Foundation.” Under the title, “Creole-Korean Food & Cultural Exchange,” Creole Seychellois Chef Marcus will present Creole dishes, while the second session will be for Chef Marcus and Korean Chef Yoo Hyun Soo, where Chef Marcus will adopt Korean sauce to Creole food and Chef Yoo will adopt Creole Sauce to Korean dishes.
Chef Yoo used to be 1-star Michelin restaurant. Now he runs his own restaurant on one of the classy streets in Korea. He also stars in a weekly TV program called “Chef and My Fridge” on JTBC TV.
The Tourism Board’s CEO will be joined on this working trip by Julie Kim, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Manager in Korea; Mr. Jeong, the Seychelles Consul; Penny Belmont, the CEO of SENPA; Marty Chang Sam, also from SENPA; Mickey Arnephy, an artisan from the island’s world of pottery; and Anna Maria Payet, from the jewelry and handicrafts manufacturing section of SENPA.
The Seychellois artisans will be showcasing their works at the two soirees, and pieces of their work will be offered as raffles for the two evenings. Both of them, including the CEO of SENPA, will also be involved in the interviews to create more buzz in the press there.
After years of focusing on conservation and management of national parks, the Seychelles National Parks Authority wants to see more park visits by tourists and residents.
“With all that is happening locally in the tourism industry and recreation, there is a need for us to market our natural assets and to diversify our products,” said Flavien Joubert, the chief executive of the authority.
Joubert said there is a lot of emphasis on the standard, price, quality and service, together with surveys that are done to get visitors’ feedback and now the authority has to play its part.
“The authority is creating more opportunities and relooking at the different types of leisure activities for visitors,” said the chief executive.
He added that “We are also looking at emerging small enterprises, which depend on parks, be it terrestrial or marine, and the need to maximise the benefits that these small businesses can reap from the reserves.”
|The Seychelles National Parks Authority is relooking at activities that will encourage more tourists and residents to visit the parks. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY|
The Seychelles National Parks Authority was created in 2009 and is responsible for all of the marine and terrestrial national parks of the island nation in the western Indian Ocean.
These are the parks on the three most populated islands of Seychelles, the Morne Seychellois National Parkon Mahe, the Praslin National Park and the Veuve Reserve on La Digue.
The marine parks include Ste. Anne, Silhouette, Port Launay, Baie Ternay, Ile Coco, Curieuse and Saint Pierre. All of these protected areas offer a diversity of fauna and flora which is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.
Apart from the parks, the authority is also responsible for several nature trails and has a forestry section which manages the country’s forest to make it ensure its sustainability.
Joubert said, “As part of its strategic plan, the authority is in the process of rebranding. The process will include the setting up of a marketing and customer service section.”
The chief executive added that although there is a provision in the organisation for a marketing section, this has never been developed.
The authority is also anticipating recruiting a consultant to give training to staff on customer care, tour guiding and any relevant issues which will benefit their clients.
The authority’s website will also be given more attention to make it more interactive as well as introducing a social media YouTube channel. All maps and brochures about the parks will also be made available online.
Textiles, the workforce, tourism, and the fisheries industry were the main areas of cooperation discussed between the president of Seychelles and newly accredited Bangladeshi high commissioner, the Bangladeshi official said.
Abdul Manna Howlader presented his credentials to President Danny Faure at State House, Victoria, on Tuesday.
According to a press communique from State House, Faure said, “I wish to acknowledge the harmonious bilateral relationship which currently exists between our two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in February 1983."
Faure added that "I wish to renew our commitment to working with you in reinforcing bilateral relations in existing and further areas of cooperation.”
Speaking to journalists, Howlader said, “We hold the second place in the world's textile industry, so your president expressed his willingness to import some textile goods to Seychelles from Bangladesh.”
With regard to the population of Bangladesh, the High Commissioner said that there are Bangladeshi workers in most countries of the world and Seychelles is no exception.
|President Faure expressed his willingness to import some textile goods to Seychelles from Bangladesh during the discussion with the newly accredited High Commissioner Abdul Manna Howlader. (Parick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“We know that [Seychelles is] in need of skilled workforce especially and we have a lot. Since Seychelles has signed and is maintaining the International Labor Organisation Conventions, it was assured that there will be no discrimination against Bangladeshi working in Seychelles,” said Howlader.
Other areas of interest to the two countries include the tourism industry of Seychelles, where the Bangladeshi High Commissioner said his country can learn from the practices of the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Tourism is the main pillar of Seychelles’ economy, followed by fisheries. Howlader added that fishery is another area of cooperation that the two countries can engage in as Bangladesh has a lot of fish processing plants.
The newly accredited high commissioner will serve a term of three years and will be based in Port Louis, Mauritius.
The cause of death of a Honduran man who was found hanged last week at the main prison in Seychelles was asphyxiation consistent with hanging, a police communiqué said on Monday.
According to the police, Alexandro Caranza, 56, had been detained at the Montagne Posee Prison since June 13. The Honduran was arrested on a Spanish fishing vessel in the waters of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, for possession of a controlled drug. He was found hangedat the prison at around 7:35 a.m. last Tuesday.
The police said that their investigation and the evidence in the death of Caranza did not show any signs of physical aggression or signs that his death was caused by malice.
The communiqué said that arrangements are being mad
An amateur photographer who loves cooking is the winner of the Seychelles Tourism Board’s ‘Best of Creole Cuisine’ Facebookphotography competition, grabbing the top prize -- two return tickets to Paris -- sponsored by Air Seychelles.
Jose Uranie won first prize among five finalists with his snapshot titled ‘The Grilled Red Snapper’. The main subject in his photo was a grilled red snapper with lemon wedges on the side, served on a banana leaf. Salted fish and moringa curry cooked in coconut milk, and papaya chutney with fresh chilli accompanied the fish.
“I wasn’t expecting to win. I only took part because I enjoy cooking, especially Creole food,” said Uranie, who looks forward to enjoying the trip to Paris with his family.
Uranie thanks those who took the time to like his photo on Facebook, as the highest number of likes a snapshot received was what depicted the winner.
The competition was open to citizens of Seychelles. It started on August 13 and each week Facebook users were given 24 hours every Thursday from 2.00 p.m. local time to vote for their favourite photo placed on STB’s Facebook page. For the final, people got to vote for the five weekly winners.
During the final 24 hours of voting that started on Thursday, August 17, a total of 304 people liked Uranie’s photograph. He came out ahead of Maria Gopal and Stephanie Hoareau, who took second and third place, respectively.
|Maria Gopal with her photo titled ‘The art of Creole food’ came out second. (Seychelles Tourism Board, Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY|
Gopal's second prize, which is two nights for two persons on half-board at Le Meridien Fishermen’s Cove in a junior suite, came after getting 261 likes. She captioned her photo titled ‘The art of Creole food’ as “mouth-watering octopus coconut curry with a side of golden apple salad served with rice in a coconut shell a la Creole style. Not forgetting chilli on the side with lime.”
The third-place winner, Hoareau, gets to enjoy two nights on half board for two persons at the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa. Her photo titled 'Typiquement Creole' got 248 votes and was a fresh filleted job fish with sweet potatoes on the side.
|Stephanie Hoareau with her photo titled 'Typiquement Creole' took 3rd place. (Seychelles Tourism Board, Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY|
The board organised the competition with the aim of getting a diverse selection of Seychelles cuisine photos from participants, to boost and promote one of the island nation’s unique qualities – its melted-pot cuisine.
“STB has achieved its target which was to have a good selection of photos depicting the Creole cuisine for its image library. These images will now be used for our marketing activities in different parts of the world,” said Vahid Jacob, the Director of Digital Marketing.
He added that only 31 photos were submitted while 56 people registered for the competition which was opened to Seychelles citizens only and had no age restriction.
STB holds a photography competition annually under a different theme each year.
Given the great beauty and laid-back atmosphere of Seychelles, the thought of staying for good must cross the mind of many foreigners visiting or working in the island nation.
But what does it take to become a Seychellois citizen?
According to the local Department of Immigration and Civil Status’ website, there are two ways to get Seychellois citizenship -- through registration or naturalisation.
While the Merriam-Webster dictionary states that to naturalise is “to confer the rights of a national on; or to admit to citizenship,” naturalisation in Seychelles has a different meaning.
In Seychelles, naturalisation is covered under the Constitution Article 12 clause 1. It states: “A person who, on or after the coming into force of this Constitution, marries another person who is or become a citizen of Seychelles shall, subject to any Act, be eligible to become a citizen of Seychelles by naturalisation.”
To be eligible, an applicant must be married to a Seychellois for at least 10 years and has been a legal resident in the country for five years or more immediately before making the application.
Candidates have to pass a citizenship eligibility exam, in one of the three national languages – Creole, English or French -- with a score of 80 percent or above.
Held every two months at the Guy Morel Institute at Ma Joie, the exam consists of 20 questions based on the history of Seychelles, the people, culture and country, the economy and environment, the national symbol and Constitution, the government, and current affairs.
“The exam was drawn up in collaboration with Unisey (University of Seychelles) and comprises a pool of 100 questions,” said Mervin Laporte, a senior immigration officer.
It is only after having passed the exam that an applicant can submit necessary documents to the immigration office, processed at a fee of $73. Once approved the same amount needs to be paid. The naturalisation certificate costs around $1,100.
The applicant and spouse need to attend an interview before a 5-member Citizenship Committee, which meets every month. The committee reviews the eligibility and fitness of the applicant before citizenship is granted.
From 2012 to May this year, 118 foreigners have been granted citizenship through naturalisation. The highest number of naturalised Seychellois is from India, 20 in total.
Apart from naturalisation, a foreigner may also be granted citizenship through registration.
A person is illegible to apply under special circumstances – ‘marriage to a Seychellois’, ‘students’, ‘priority worker’ and ‘investor’. Regardless of the category, an applicant has to pay a processing fee of $73 and a registration fee of $1,100.
Under the category ‘marriage to Seychellois,’ the applicant must have resided in Seychelles for an aggregated period of 15 years and have been in the country for 13 years.
Citizenship can be granted even if the spouse of the applicant is no longer alive and the marriage no longer exists.
A university graduate who has lived and studied in Seychelles for at least five years up to secondary level is eligible to apply for the ‘student’ registration. The applicant must have held a Gainful Occupation Permit(GOP) for two years and a Permanent Residence Permit for more than five years.
Should you possess an extraordinary ability in science, arts, education, economics, law, business or sports, you are a candidate eligible for the ‘priority worker’ registration. A candidate must hold a university degree at Doctorate, Master or Bachelor level in an area likely to contribute significantly to the development of Seychelles. The person must also have lived in the island nation for a total of 15 years or more.
Under ‘investors’ category, an applicant is eligible to apply if they have invested one million US Dollars or more in a business in Seychelles and has resided an aggregate period of 11 years in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
All applicants have to sit for the citizenship eligibility exam and fees for registration vary between $1,100 and $25,700.
Hillary Joubert is Miss Seychelles Another World 2017, clinching the title from among 14 contestants at the crowning ceremony on Saturday evening.
"I am very happy and wasn't expecting to be crowned, but I am very proud of myself," said a jubilant and emotional Joubert. "I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. It was something beautiful where I learned a lot. I will miss all the other contestants very much."
Petra Tamatave is the 1st Princess while Serah Jumaye was crowned 2nd Princess in the ceremony, which took place at the Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort and Spa under the theme 'Miss Seychelles Another World -- Labote Seselwa - The pearl of Seychelles.
|Petra Tamatave (left) is the 1st Princess and Serah Jumaye is the 2nd Princess. (Miss Seychelles - National Pageant, Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY|
Joubert, 23, who hails from Glacis, a district in the north of the main island of Mahe, takes over the title from reigning Miss Seychelles 2016 - Christine Barbier. The newly crowned Miss Seychelles was also voted as Miss People's choice. Jumaye, the 2nd Princess, won best evening wear.
The project Joubert worked on for the pageant focuses on bullying in school, and she said that this is her priority.
"The situation where children are bullying other children is a big problem in our small society, and I hope to be able to get a facility to put these bullies and where they can be disciplined," said Joubert, who added that working with victims is as crucial as tackling the perpetrators.
Other awards presented at the ceremony went to Tracy Francoise as Miss Photogenic and Nerli Haide as Miss Personality. Angie Desnousse was awarded Miss Talent and Seychelle Worth, another finalist, won the Miss Sport and best project, which was "The Physical Fight Against Drugs.
The outgoing Miss Seychelles Christine Barbier was not present on Saturday night to crown her successor but posted on her Facebook page that she has had an amazing year.
"Full of discoveries and opportunities. I have met a lot of amazing people along the way. I have strived to excel at discharging my duties pertaining to my role," said the former Miss Seychelles.
Barbier also thanked everyone for their support and encouragement and wished her successor all the best.
The Miss Seychelles beauty pageant is only the beginning for the holder of the title. Also included on her journey will be representing Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, at the Miss World beauty pageant to be held on November 18th in Sanya, China.
SNA presents the other winners in the pageant
|From top: Tracy Francoise -- Miss Photogenic, Nerli Haide -- Miss Personality. Angie Desnousse -- Miss Talent and Seychelle Worth -- Miss Sport and best project, (Jude Morel, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Gone are the days when the Miss Seychelles beauty pageant focused only on beauty, the cat walk, and photo shoot. This year, the grooming of the contestants also included brushing up on their French, nutritional advice, and learning the traditional dance.
Since the launching of the Miss Seychelles pageant this year, 14 contestants have taken a journey that culminates with the crowning this Saturday, August 26.
But what does it take to be Miss Seychelles?
SNA looks at the activities the 14 contestants have been involved in for the past two months.
Traditional music and dance
Two Seychellois veterans -- Jerry Souris and Marietta Matombe -- have conducted classes with the contestants, through which they shared their knowledge. Contestants showcased what they learned in the Miss Seychelles Talent show held earlier this month.
There is always the hope that one of them will continue promoting the island nation’s traditional music and dances.
|Jerry Souris conducting traditional music classes with contestants. (Michel Desnousse) Photo License: CC-BY|
With many tasty local dishes like grilled fish and coconut curry to mention but a few, knowing how to cook comes high on the list. So do we prepare those delicacies which draw flavours from the cinnamon leaf, gloves and thicken with coconut milk?
As part of their cooking programme held at the Seychelles Tourism Academy, the contestants had to prepare traditional Creole dishes. They had to start from the very beginning, including grating the coconut flesh and squeezing the milk out.
|Contestants learning how to cook the Creole dishes at the Seychelles Tourism Academy. (Michel Desnousse) Photo License: CC-BY|
Brushing up on French
Bienvenue aux Seychelles – that is: Welcome to Seychelles. Contestants know it and a whole lot more as they had to brush on their French. The young ladies have been taking lessons at the Alliance Française -- an international organisation that seeks to promote French language and culture around the world.
French, as well as English and Creole, are the three national languages of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
Communication and etiquette
Knowing how to behave appropriately not only makes a person comfortable but others as well. Miss Seychelles is an ambassador for Seychelles so etiquette takes on a whole new meaning and contestants have been working on theirs. Sessions also included communications, protocol, the importance of positive thinking and career ventures, given by local experts.
|The 14 contestants are now ready for the finale on Saturday August 26. (Michel Desnousse) Photo License: CC-BY|
The contestants had the chance to live together as part of a team building exercise. They shared a house, the chores, prepared meals together and more importantly bonded and finally conquered their fears through the zip lining exercise.
The 14 contestants are now ready for the finale on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at the Avani Seychelles Barbarons Resort and Spa.
Meanwhile, online voting is on through Airtel on 9689 and Cable & Wireless on 9688 for Miss People’s Choice.