COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented change in tourism and reopening in a way that is safe, attractive, and economically viable requires coordination at a level not seen before.
As Seychelles borders have reopened for international tourism, we sat down with Burak Aydin, Resort Manager at JA Enchanted Island Resort to get his take on it all.
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What is your forecast for the hotel economy?
This is of course a million dollar question and with the continuing uncertainties of how long this pandemic and its affects will last, we can only forecast how each destination will be impacted parallel to the rules and regulations each destination will mandate.
Seychelles continues to proceed cautiously, however is very much in realization that it’s economy and that of tourism related businesses will be completely dependent on international travel.
Since reopening it’s borders in August, we have seen business at levels of breakeven points for any tourism establishment in the country. Economically, it will continue to be on a survival of the fittest basis.
What about the tourism industry in general and the new normal that will revive it?
The new normal is still far from being an eventual mode of practices in place. As rules and regulations are relaxed and tightened according to daily news regarding Covid-19 impact on countries, it is hard to conclude on how the tourism industry will change shape in the upcoming months or years.
We have entered a time where all parties involved will be required to be vigilant, flexible, and prepared to comply with all rules and regulations related to travel and accommodation. The new normal practices of living our daily lives will continue to test our willingness to travel for leisure or business.
Best practices can only support our decision making to a certain extent. It is apparent that the tourism industry can not show signs of growth in the too near future and will be compelled to sharing a steadily shrinking pie.
What are the opportunities and trends you predict to come out of this crisis?
I see smaller scale resorts, hotels and guest houses benefitting from the current situation around the world. Secluded establishments, weather it is an Island resort like ours or a mountain top retreat, will be preferred destinations where human contact and exposure is limited.
Businesses who focus on self-sustaining practices in full respect of their environment and all creatures that share it will have a competitive edge moving forward.
What lessons do you think are there in it for all of us?
In the never ending evolution of life on earth and those who share this planet, we must come to a collective realisation that the delicate balance of our earth requires constant care and attention more than ever.
Nature has it’s many ways of telling us where we are making a mistake over and over again.
It is ups to us to listen to these signs and stop consuming and wasting what is not meant for us to do on such incredible large scales.