Thursday, April 21, 2016


The Island D e v e l o p m e n t Company (IDC) has signed another deal for tourism on Farquhar Island. A company based in the UK specialising in fishing holidays, FlyCastaway, is now advertising packages offering a week’s stay on the island together with fishing, for the coast of US$7000 per person. These are offered for groups of 10, putting the weekly turnover at $70,000.

Prices have increased
These offers are being made to prospective clients all over the world, putting Farquhar tourism on a larger scale than it has been. How much the IDC will get out of this is not known yet but it can be expected to beat the $30,000 per week it has been getting from Mauritian tourists for years.

The new arrangement starts in February 2011, according to the advertisement. But this comes without the questions on Farquhar tourism being answered.

The first question is whether the island’s tourism business is legal and compliant with standards in the industry. IDC chief executive Glenny Savy has admitted that the establishment there does not have a licence. He has said this is not necessary because it is primarily a rest house intended for government officials or even other Seychellois who want to spend time there. But, we have never heard of such guests for Farquahar while groups of Mauritian tourists paying $3000 each have been regular.

After the mysterious disappearance of Mauritian Felix Maurel last year, the IDC has not come up with any assurances on the safety of visitors. Should it expand its activities without better safeguards?

FlyCastaway obviously intends to enlarge the scale of fishing that tourists can do. It offers both fly-fishing from the flats and sand bars and also fishing in the waters of the lagoon for grouper, tuna, sailfish and marlin. It will bring in four motorized skiffs for, in ots own words, “unleashing the offshore opportunities that await there”.

Obviously, this is on a much bigger scale than has been going on. But who gets the money? IDC executive Glenny Savy has never given any clear answer on how the money collected from Mauritian visitors over the past years has been accounted for. Auditors are supposed to be looking closely at the accounts of state-owned companies, but this part remains obscure.

If IDC is to engage in tourism on the islands it manages, it must do so within the rules and standards of the industry and with full transparency. Until it does that, its dealings will remain questionable.

Source: Regar 7-9-10