Seychelles – Tourism

The Seychelles are an African nation 1600km East of Kenya. It was uninhabited until the last few centuries, when it fell under French occupation. The culture is a mix of French, African, Chinese and Indian (the main ethnicities). The main industries are fishing, tourism and beverages. 74% of the population work in service industries, and 25% of the population is directly involved in the tourism industry. The official language is French (although Creole is spoken almost as widely), making it easily accessible to many tourists- English is also frequently used. The main food crops are sweet potatoes, vanilla farming, coconuts and cinnamon. They do not have any considerable secondary industries, so pollution rates are generally low.

Historical context

  • Seychelles gained independence in 1976
  • Their first airport was built in 1971- Seychelles International Airport, leading to a large increase in tourism, largely from Western celebrities
  • Some people (including the PM, Francis Rene) thought that tourism was deteriorating the economy, leading to the PM over throwing the president, intending to give the poor more money
  • Rene tried to decrease tourism to “keep the Seychelles for the Seychellois”
  • 1979 constitution said they were a one party socialist party, and the first draft was not passed
  • The PM was found to be involved in various crimes, such as money laundering and even murder
  • South Africa sent 43 mercenaries posing as Rugby players to depose Rene (known as the Seychelles Affair), which didn’t work- and neither did the two other attempts.
  • Democracy was restored in 1991- under harsh political pressure
  • Rene didn’t step down until 1993, when the multi-party system was enforced

Seychelles’ tourism was affected by the Persian Gulf War; afterwards the government has been trying to reduce their reliance on tourism (and failing) to reduce risks. Fishing has increased, and is now the main industry again.

Originally in 1971, plantations and tourism were largely opposing industries. Tourism was more profitable, so plantations declined. The government encouraged a lot of foreign investment to upgrade hotels and services, leading to there being many hotels and resorts, and a lot of real estate.

Tourism dependency is being reduced, the government is especially encouraging farming, fishing, small-scale manufacture and off-shore finance.

Economy generally

Seychelles has a major crack-down on piracy, as pirates cost 4% of the GDP annually- local fishing can be cost up to 46%. Seychelles has the largest incarceration per capita as a result.

The Seychelles have 14 airports, 7 of which are paved. They have the smallest population of any independent African State, this is clearly for their past tourism industry. The transport system is generally fairly good for an LIC.

Touristic appeal

Other than a socialist past and issues with piracy, the Seychelles are still quite appealing to tourists.

A lot of wildlife was eliminated upon human habitation, but this was a very small proportion compared to many similar places, such as Hawaii. The islands have still been left with many rare species. The Coco de Mer is essentially two fused coconuts, only found on 2 islands of more than 116 in total.

Much of the land is covered in national parks or world heritage sites, protecting the huge amounts of rare wildlife (most of which tourists are allowed to see). They have social gardens for  wildlife and quite a few botanical gardens.

The beaches have a very good reputation, making the scenery very appealing. The temperature is generally fairly warm, with temperature ranges on the main island generally between 24-30°C, with average national highs between 28-31°C, although it is humid. May to November have breezes, so this is generally the best time for tourism.

The local fish (around 42 coral islands and 67 raised coral islands, as well as some others) are unafraid of divers, although much of the coral has been bleached.

The island are interesting to geologists, as they are some of the hardest  and granitic islands in the world- 45 islands are granitic.

There are no significant oil or gas reserves, reducing future risks of pollution, meaning it will stay environmentally in tact for a while.

The culture is very diverse and interesting. They have large amounts of curries in the typical diet and large amounts of tropical fruit and fish. Shark chutney appears fairly commonly; they also have very diverse music from this. It is also fairly rare, as it is one of very few matriarchal nations. It is normally for mothers to be unwed, and fathers are legally obligated to support their children, but have full working rights, and their working is the norm.

The Seychelles had very strong advertising during 1971-76, bringing in a lot of tourists, but there are now significant environmental concerns.

Managing tourism

There is a limit on 150,000 tourists per year and 4,000 hotel beds on their 3 largest islands. They favour European tourists as they tend to pay the most on holiday.

Speargun and dynamite fishing are completely banned and the Seychelles are a world leader in eco-tourism.

 

Tourism in Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, a part of Spanish territory off the West coast of Africa. It is dominated by a volcano called Mount Teide, which last erupted in 1909 and is 3,718m tall.

In the 2001 census, Tenerife has 778,000 people. This equates to a 380 people per km^2 population density. Tourism first started there in the 1960s and now accounts for 80% of the GDP. In 2005, about 70% of workers were involved somehow in tourism via service industries. Other industries supporting tourism supplies another 16% with jobs.

Attractions to tourists

  • Humid, subtropical climate

The effect of the Atlantic Ocean means that mean monthly temperatures only range from 18 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees. Sea surface temperatures reach up to 23 degrees. It does not frequently fall below 15 degrees.

Windward slopes receive far more rain than other parts of the island, as do the higher altitude areas due to rain shadowing. The island has a nigh permanent cloud layer because of the orthographic effect of Mount Teide. Because the top of the mountain is so much higher than the cloud layer of 2,000m, the peak area is one of the driest points on the island.

  • Although Tenerife is naturally a rocky island, sand is imported to form beaches (such as Playa De Las Americas and Los Cristianos). These are normally small, however.
  • The climate encourages a high biodiversity on the island
  • There is attractive hiking and walking country in the higher altitude pinewoods.
  • The caldera of Mount Teide attracts many visitors and is in the centre of a national park. A cable car gives access to the summit
  • The caldera has been deemed a World heritage Site as of 2007
  • There are step pyramids at Guimar that were built by the native Guanches people in prehistoric times.

Growth of tourism

Tourism originally started in the North of the island, which was already fashionable to British and Spanish tourists to visit in the late 19th century. It is still the most popular destination for Spanish visitors to the Canary Islands.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s access to flights became far easier and cheaper, allowing more visitors. Longer paid holidays in much of the Western world encouraged people to take holidays to more exotic locations. With this boom tourist activity moved to the South of the country, resulting in rapid urbanisation of a long stretch of the Southern coastline from Los Cristianos to Playa De Las Americas. This area now attracts 60% of Tenerife’s tourists and houses many expatriates. Over 95% of British tourists stay there.

Resorts specialise in low-cost tourism.

Opportunities from tourism

  • Before tourism, Tenerife was a poor, agricultural island. Lack of employment forced people out to other countries. Tourism has counteracted this, and few young people now leave for work.
  • Tourism has created thousands of new jobs
  • It generates 60% of the island’s GDP.
  • Through the multiplier effect, income is generated through many industries
  • Tourism is year-round income
  • Tourism has had to cater for 5 million guests annually, meaning transport has been well upgraded
  • Tourism has its own airport- Tenerife South international airport, completed in 1978, which is the 6th busiest Spanish airport. Tenerife has another airport, and they are linked by a motorway, further helping transport links.
  • Teide National Park was designated in 1954 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to tourists raising awareness of the importance for maintaining the environment  there.
  • Similarly, the Corona Forest Nature Park has been set up, with many other reserves.

Problems from tourism

  • Most new development is of poor quality in the South.
  • There was initially no planning for new developments, creating a concrete jungle, such as in Playa De Las Americas.
  • The towns are unattractive and over built
  • There are high congestion levels
  • The environmental quality reduced tourist visits.
  • Nightlife in some towns has meant the island has an image of rowdiness to potential visitors.
  • Average population growth in the south between 1980 and 2001 was 3.2% compared to an island wide figure of 1.1%. This indicates overcrowding in the South, and also correlates to the massive immigration of other Europeans.
  • Water is very scarce- water supplies are fixed while demand is rising. Most water is from aquifiers, causing water levels to fall and quality to fall too. Either more needs to be supplied by recycling waste or by desalinating sea water, but neither of these are cheap. There are 2 current desalination plants, but the energy for them has to be imported.
  • There are sewage disposal issues and there are reports of 3 sewage plants releasing raw sewage straight into the sea in tourist areas.
  • Beaches in the Southeast are mostly artificial, and supplying all the sand for them requires extensive dredging from the sea floor- and subsequently massive damage to marine ecosystems
  • Local culture is undermined due to the presence of so many British tourists
  • Only 1/3 of the arable land is now farmed
  • Young people leave rural areas for the cities to find work. this work is often low-paid and low-skilled.
  • The Canary Islands have the lowest average wages of anywhere in Spain

The future

The Tenerife Tourism Corporation has been trying to improve the island’s image, due to competition from cheaper destinations. Competitiveness decreasing has been an issue since 1986, when Spain joined the EU and labour costs increased. recent decline in visitor numbers suggest the island’s appeal is stagnating. Today’s tourists have higher expectations than those in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Some 5* hotels, boutique hotels, gold courses and spas have been built to help attract wealthier tourists. This means fewer visitors, but the capital from each should result in higher profitability. Environmental pressure would also be reduced.

However, it is hard to suddenly improve the image of the island for tourists.

Ecotourism and heritage tourism are being promoted to help remove some pressure of the sea front.

Kenya- Growth of Tourism

In 1958, the Board of Wildlife and Tourism was set up in Kenya to improve and increase tourism within the country. Independence was achieved in 1963, and with foreign investment, the Kenyan economy grew.

Revenue from tourism grew from US$25.2 million to US$40.4 million from 1963 to 1968.

The boom in the 1960’s of package holidays meant long haul flights were cheaper and made Kenya accessible to tourists. Kenya was one of the first LICs to open up to mass tourism. Kenya allows tourists to see any of 19 National Parks, as well as having a long coastline and dramatic scenery.

In 1976, the Board of Wildlife and Tourism made plans to imrpove facilities in new National Park and invest directly into tourist services.

Between 1981 and 1987 Kenya was the most popular African tourist destination, accounting for 30% of East African tourist arrivals. The shilling’s relative value fell, making the trip effectively cheaper for foreign visitors.

In the 1990’s, publicised murders of tourists caused a reduction in growth. Other African tourist destinations were catching up in popularity, growing to major competition. In 1995, South African tourism grew by 25% in revenue. Instability deterred many tourists.

Instability continued into the 2000’s. Terrorist attacks and riots in 2007 caused many governments (largely European) to advise tourists not to visit. This had a major effect as 70% of Kenyan tourist arrivals were European. Kenya is estimated to have lost US$500 million because of this. Increasing taxes also hindered growth as other countries became cheaper destinations.

Brazil- Tourism

Brazil’s natural beauty and international from the Carnival allow Brazil to attract thousands annually, right up to 2014- 2015 and 2016 figures being yet to be consolidated (although they have likely fallen slightly so far this year due to the Zika virus.

The main attractions are Rio De Janeiro- with it’s Carnival- and the natural beauty of the country. This includes much of the Amazon rainforest, waterfalls, 8,850 km of coastline, volcanic beaches and many other attractions. Ecotourism has been a major reason for the Brazilian increase in tourism. The average growth of ecotourism in Brazil annually is around 12%.

The average number of tourists increased from 1.5 million in the 1990’s to over 4 million in 2005. Brazil had 5 million visitors in 2008. Tourists in the summer of 2004 generated US$2.78 x10^9. During the 2004 Carnival in just two weeks in the winter, 540,000 tourists visited Rio De Janeiro, generating US$270 million. In 2005, tourism represented 7% of Brazil’s employment, employing over 8 million people. Revenue from tourists reached US$5.78 x10^9 in 2008.

Benefits to tourism in Brazil

  • Popular to invest in by other countries, such as Spain; Brazil and Spain entered a partnership in 2005. It is a common destination for Spanish tourists.
  • Spain has invested US$74 million into developing hotels, infrastructure and Northern ports.
  • Small improvements to Rio De Janeiro’s major drug issues, violence and slum dwellings have been made from tourist money.
  • Money has been spent on improving security
  • Bonito in the Pantanal region has ecperienced a 2–30% increase in annual tourism; in a town of 20,000 residents, 2,000 are employed in ecotourism
  • Demand for restaurants, clubs, bars, shops, hotels and other services have improved.
  • Tourism has allowed rural dwellers a greater variety of employment; previously there were few options outside of logging, poaching and mining, but now locals have more of a variety of jobs they can enter.
  • Locals are paid to help preserve the environment as tourists don’t want to see the evidence of logging or mining in the forests.
  • Ecotourism improves local education and health compared to doing harder labour such as mining. 

(Image Sources: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/amazon-eco-tourism.html http://brazil-ecotravel.com/)

Dubai- Tourism

Dubai attracted 8.41 million tourists in 2010 and 14.26 million in 2014. It is now the 4th most visited city (after London, Bangkok and Paris). The majority of tourists are Middle Eastern.

In 1968 only 13 cars were registered in Dubai; now there is enough congestion that double Decker buses are being installed to remove some of the traffic.

Dubai is a leading city for tourist spending with over US$11.6 million being spent in 2015.

  • The first tourists came in 1892 when Dubai declared an exemption from taxing foreign traders; there is still a 0% income tax. This encourages the sale of holiday homes especially.
  • Success of modern flight providers has increased accessibility.
  • There are many one-off attractions such as the world’s largest aquarium and shopping centre.
  • Historically, Middle Eastern states have been unstable but the UAE has become more stable in recent years, removing political deterrants
  • Islamic law has become more lenient, allowing the drinking of alcohol and people wearing bikinis (although this is meant to be restricted to their own properties).
  • An increase in living capacity has encouraged tourists to stay longer and closer to the city. By January 2015 there were 93,030 hotel rooms in Dubai.

Egypt Tourism Changes

Although Egypt has been an attraction for tourists for many years due to the richness of historical sites, it was impossible for much tourism to occur thanks to the annual flooding of the Nile river.

In 1973, President Anwar Sadat led a victory over Israel in the October war resulting in Arab investments helping the reconstruction of the economy. This included building the Aswan dam which prevented flood risks, and the country becoming a popular tourist destination.

However terrorist attacks in the 2,000s globally reduced tourism worldwide. The 2004 bombings in Sinai tourist resorts, President Hasni Mubarak refusing US aid  and the 2006 bird flu outbreak led to an economic collapse in 2009. Finally, the revolution in 2011 pushed tourist numbers down by 5 million from 14 million in a year.

As tourism is a major factor in the Egyptian economy, in 2012, prices lowered drastically to try to attract visitors. Due to the recent events, Egypt has increased its standards of tourism as luxury tourism has grown more popular. There has been a decrease in numbers visiting major sites because of the increased risk of terrorist attacks. There has been a decrease in European and Russian tourists and an increase in Indian and Chinese tourists.