Tourism Boom Fuels 60% Rally in World’s Best-Performing Currency
(Bloomberg) -- A tourism boom in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles is fueling a world-beating rally in its currency.
The Seychelles rupee strengthened 2.9% this week to 13.31 against the dollar, bringing its gain so far in 2021 to 60% -- the best performer of 146 currencies tracked by Bloomberg globally. It’s one of five African currencies in the top 10 this year.
The palm-fringed archipelago this year became one of the world’s most-vaccinated nations after it rushed to inoculate its more than 99,000 inhabitants against Covid-19 to revive its tourism industry, the lifeblood of Seychelles’ economy. Visitor arrivals so far this year are up 8% from 2020, driven by a more than doubling in visitors from Asia, according to National Bureau of Statistics data.
“There has been a large influx of foreigners and people going on vacation since the reopening of the tourism industry earlier this year and this has supported the local currency market to get back on its feet,” said Murega Mungai, a Nairobi-based trading desk manager at AZA Finance.
More than 77% of Seychelles’ population is fully inoculated with either Sinopharm or AstraZeneca Plc shots, including more than half of the nation’s estimated 7,000 adolescents aged between 12-17 years in a campaign that started Sept. 10, according to the Health Ministry.
Seychelles’ government this month revised up its forecast for economic growth this year to 6.7%, from an initial 2.08% forecast. The economy contracted 13.5% last year.
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