Surfers Cove with four one-bedroom apartments is a self-catering establishment opened in May 2017. (Surfers Cove Self Catering Apartment)
(Seychelles News Agency) – The recently formed Seychelles Small Hotels and Establishments Association (SSHEA) says it will work to make its members see the importance of joining it this year, with numerous initiatives to promote small tourism establishments that are popular with tourists.
A SSHEA representative and former government minister, Peter Sinon, detailed some of its plans to highlight the challenges faced in the sector and find solutions to SNA.
“At the moment the small establishments are the ones with the most rooms [in the country], although we feel that we are not given enough visibility,” explained Sinon.
As a result, SSHEA is working with the Department of Tourism to ensure that their representatives also attend the international tourism fairs held overseas.
“At the moment, our small establishments are under the Seychelles Secrets group and I believe that this category is indeed the world’s best secret as our prospective clients do not know about us,” he added.
In addition to ensuring SSHEA members are well represented overseas, members who have joined the association are also given cards with a QR code that shows their clients all their details.
“By scanning the code, the client is sent to the owner’s website and all their contact details as well as proof that they are licensed will all be available,” Sinon said.
The card also serves as a loyalty card, “which we are working with other businesses to give our members discounts on certain items that they may need to upgrade their establishments.”
According to Sinon this is very important as the association insists that all its members are licensed operators.
SSHEA also plans to have sensitisation campaigns in a bid to help owners to lower their operation costs, “all the while keeping the quality of their product and services high.”
This will include forums teaching members how to run successful compliant businesses.
“One of the advantages that we have as small establishments, is that we are the only ones where the clients get to interact with the owners themselves, in addition to also passing on business to other local businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, since SSHEA has a very busy year planned, Sinon stressed on the importance of working with others such as the Seychelles Hotels and Tourism Association (SHTA) and the Department of Tourism to further advance the sector.
“Where we feel that SHTA is pushing issues that benefit all of us, we will be there to support it …We still look at SHTA as the umbrella association that deals with the sector, while we are the ones that deal specifically with the smaller ones,” he said.
In a recent survey by SSHEA, which targeted around 10 percent of small establishments owners (59 respondents), it was shown that the majority of owners are women (77.2 percent).