Seychelles Reopens Beaches to Tourists After Covid-19 Bashing

Seychelles, a sunny Indian Ocean archipelago reliant on tourism, expects its economy to bounce back with the reopening of borders on Thursday after vaccinating 90% of the population against Covid-19.

The economy contracted by over 13% last year after holidaymaker arrivals plunged 70%, Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio.

“For a small economy, this is massive,” he said. “We have really taken a bashing in 2020.”

But 2021 should be a better year and the government sees arrivals rising to as many as 189,000 tourists from 114,858 visitors before travel restrictions were imposed last year

Vaccinations have been key to the decision to reopen borders in the nation of about 98,500 people. So far 90% have received a first jab and 45% have obtained the required two. The plan is to reach herd immunity so as to allow visitors who have tested negative for the coronavirus unrestricted access to the islands.

Seychelles is targeting secondary markets in eastern Europe -- primarily Russia -- the Middle East and Israel, as the main market Europe struggles with a spike in coronavirus infections, Radegonde said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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