Spotlight on Seychelles island economy for University’s World Bank research

Dr Mark Hampton and Mrs Julia Jeyacheya with the Minister of Tourism for the Seychelles, Alain St. Ange

Most people choose the Seychelles for a luxury holiday but for two Kent Business School (KBS) researchers earlier this month it simply provided the beautiful backdrop to intensive research into the tropical island’s economy.

Dr Mark Hampton and Mrs Julia Jeyacheya travelled to the island of Mahe in the Seychelles to carry out field research as part of their World Bank-funded study on the economic impact of tourism in Small Island Developing States.

The researchers, both members of KBS’ Centre for Tourism in Islands and Coastal Areas, are leading a project to examine how tourism impacts on inclusive growth in small developing islands and whether there is scope for it to create more local benefits.

During the visit they were hosted by the Ministry of Finance and had a series of high level meetings and in-depth interviews with representatives of the island’s government and its tourism sector, culminating with Seychelles Minister of Tourism Alain St. Ange.

Dr Hampton said: ‘The fieldwork part of our wider project on island tourism was fascinating. The Seychelles have a superb tourism product and a stunning landscape, but frank discussions with both government and the private sector also revealed some serious challenges facing the islands.

‘In just over seven working days, we undertook around 25 meetings and interviews, ranging from the largest five star hotels to owners of small self-catering accommodation, tour operators, the transport sector, local restaurant businesses and boat charters.

‘Most people go to the Seychelles to relax, but we didn’t get a lot of time to enjoy the scenery.’

The overall project is based at Kent with specialist input from professors at two other universities. The findings and policy recommendations will be reported to the World Bank in July and to the Commonwealth Secretariat conference in London in September.

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