About the Republic of Seychelles
Seychelles, located in the Indian Ocean with 455 sq km, of which Mahé has 153 sq km and Praslin 38 sq km and with approximately 86,525 thousand inhabitants Seychelles is noted for its sound environmental policies, and the country has the highest proportion of protected land in the world (over 50% of the total).
Behind this lies a desire to capitalise on the international trend towards ecotourism. Seychelles has won several awards for environmental schemes and has two UNESCO-designated World Heritage sites: the Vallée de Mai Reserve on Praslin and the Albadra Atoll.
The services sector "including transport, communications, commerce and tourism" dominates the Seychelles economy and has accounted for just under 70% of GDP in recent years. Shipping plays a key role in the Seychelles economy, both as the main conduit for trade and because of the revenue earned by providing services for international cruise liners, fishing vessels and freight carriers. As well as being an important tuna transshipment port, it also offers repairs and is an important refueling point (two-thirds of petroleum imports are re-exported). Seychelles, together with Mauritius, tops the African league on most telecommunications indicators, including fixed and mobile phone subscriptions, personal computers and Internet use.
In an attempt to make the offshore sector the third pillar of the economy "after tuna and tourism" the government established the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA). The most recent data available show that the number of international business companies rose from 10,632 at the end of 2002 to 35,000 in 2006. Although most are shell organisations that pay no tax, it was estimated that they generate around USD 3 million in foreign exchange for local agents, lawyers and accountants per year. The government's efforts to develop the sector were boosted by the OECD's decision in 2002 to name Seychelles as one of the 11th offshore jurisdictions with which it enjoys a close working relationship.
Seychelles also has become a magnet for major new hotel developments, as operators seek to capitalise on the archipelago's reputation for exclusivity. In all, the government has approved the construction of 60 hotels in 2007, 12, of which about half are large establishments (in the three-star, four-star and five-star categories) and half smaller ventures. The main island, Mahé, is the primary location, followed by Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Long Island and Round Island. Developments on Mahé include those at Port Launay (the USD110 million integrated "Ephelia" development), Intendance, Petit Anse, Takamaka, Grand Police and Anse Capucins.
Honourable Patrick Pillay
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
P. O. Box 656
Tel: (248) 224688, 225528
Fax: (248) 224688, 224845