Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marines, Didier Dogley, has announced a ban on cruise ships at Port Victoria for two years, effective immediately.
Quoted in Seychelles Nation, Dogley said since the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had taken several measures, including financial, to ensure that tourism-related businesses could survive and stay afloat during the COVID-19 difficulties, until the tourism industry picked up.
“The measures are in line with the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) which is the United Nations’ specialised agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism,” said Dogley.
This ban may be a sign of what’s in store for the local cruising industry, with Director of Strategic Development and Advisory at BDO, Lee-Anne Bac, noting that the cruising industry in southern Africa would likely be the last sector to recover post-COVID-19.
“The confined space of cruise ships is something travellers are going to consider in the post-COVID world. Being on an aircraft is manageable with travellers having to wear masks for a couple of hours but cruising is different,” said Bac.
“Human contact is not so easily escapable on a cruise ship where passengers are usually on board for a week minimum. Will passengers be happy to wear masks on their cruise holidays in the post-COIVD-19 world?”
SA Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, has, to date, given no indication as to when the ban on passenger vessels and cruise liners will be lifted, only allowing the movement of cargo from sea-ports.
COVID-19 hit the global cruise industry hard, with several cruise ships quarantined, including the MV AIDAmira in Cape Town.