Seychelles – Paradise on Earth

Known for its beauty the archipelago of 115 islands that includes lush mountains, arresting granite boulders, white sand palm-fringed beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise ocean waters, Seychelles has made its name as “The paradise on earth”. With its tropical climate and tantalising attractions, Seychelles has become a magnet for tourists and honeymooners who desire pristine surroundings, privacy and proximity to the best of luxuries and amenities. It’s no wonder that Prince William and Kate chose The Seychelles for their honeymoon in 2011, David and Victoria Beckham escaped to the Seychelles for their 10-day Indian Ocean break on their 10th wedding anniversary. Not only do the islands boast breathtaking landscapes with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters, but they’re also home to some of the world’s most luxurious – and secluded – hotels.

Seychelles is a small island nation found in the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa with an estimated population of 96 762 which is the smallest population of any Sovereign African State. Seychelles like most island nations, is not a one contiguous island, it is made up of a chain of islands with others dotted far off the chain. There are two sets of islands – the inner granite islands and the outer coral islands. There are 45 inner granite islands while the rest are outer coral islands. The inner granite islands are the world’s only oceanic granite islands. Mahe island is the largest island and the seat of Seychelles capital city – Victoria which is the smallest in the world covering 1.5km and can be explored on foot in less than a day.

Though small and eye catching, the country is the second richest country in Africa (1st is Equatorial Guinea) on the Continent with a GDP per capita of $28 712. Despite the size, the country has managed to turn itself into a prime tourist destination on earth as in 2018 it received 361,844 tourists, a number which is 3.5 times its resident population which increased by 3% from 2017. The Service industry has transformed the country into a high-income economy with an estimated GDP of $1.59 Billion (2018 World Bank) of which 84% of it is generated from the service sector through tourism.  Seychelles exports vanilla, coconuts, coconut oil, fish and guano (a fertiliser made from seabird and bat feces). Agriculture is not a significant contributor as it contributes 2.5% to the GDP and the industrial sector 13.5%.

On the Neil Economic Scale, the price of a can of coke is 18.67Rs (19.92R) and the price of a liter of petrol is 19.01Rs (20.28R). Consumer prices and rent are on average 39.7% higher in Victoria than in Cape Town.

Seychelles must ensure transformation aimed at sustained economic growth fuelled by increasing productivity as the economy is mainly vulnerable to external shocks. A weakening of tourism entries—for instance because of increased competition from newer markets in the Middle East and Asia, or a series of price hikes in international food and oil prices—could negatively affect the country’s economy.

The leadership of the country has ensured that there is preservation of flora and fauna which can be seen in most parts of the country remaining nature preserved. Just breathing in the pristine, unpolluted air on Alphonse makes you instantly feel healthier. It is no surprise to learn that the 2016 Environmental Performance Index found that the Seychelles has the purest air on the planet or that the islands have a world-record 50 per cent of the total land area under natural conservation. Surely this is Paradise!