By Seychelles News Agency
Club Med Seychelles, a luxury eco-resort that says it offers visitors a unique concept of a village experience with emphasis on values such as happiness and kindness, was inaugurated on Wednesday on Seychelles' St. Anne Island.
The opening of the 5-star resort amidst the Covid-19 pandemic is being seen as a sign of resilience and a boost for Seychelles, an island nation whose main source of income – tourism – is slowly picking up after being on its knees due to the pandemic.
Club Med Seychelles reopened after just over two years of construction work costing $90 million. The inauguration was done through a spectacular show filled with music, colour, acrobatics, dances and songs performed by the staff themselves – a taste of the kind of experience that awaits visitors to the village.
"For us in Seychelles, the inauguration of Club Med is of utmost importance. The world is still going through the effects of the pandemic. Seychelles has already opened its doors to visitors on the 25th of March and for us to see the opening of a major hotel at this particular time is just a dream come true," said Wavel Ramkalawan, Seychelles' president, who was amongst the guests at the ceremony.
According to the president: "It is not just Club Med that will be getting world publicity, but Seychelles will be in the headlines today. Club Med and Seychelles. The world will see Seychelles welcoming Club Med and therefore this will entice other people to say Seychelles is the destination I want to come to." Rakamalwan added that the country is proud that Club Med chose to come to Seychelles.
In his speech Henri Giscard D'Estaing, the president of Club Med, said: "Since 1950, even if it has evolved considerably thanks to its move upmarket, its globalization and its digitization, Club Med still has the same raison d'être: freeing individuals from their constraints, allowing them to recharge their batteries in the most beautiful places in the world to return to original happiness."
"Opening a resort in Seychelles has been close to our hearts for many years. And we could not dream of a more beautiful setting than the Ile Sainte-Anne, nestled in the heart of this sublime archipelago and a protected marine national park, to offer our clients, families and couples, the best of the Club Med experience," added the head of Club Med.
According to Giscard D'Estaing, Seychelles is a premium destination "endowed with everything our most demanding customers can dream of: an environment of exceptional and unspoiled natural beauty, magnificent beaches, a rich culture and above all a warm, welcoming population."
The president of Club Med also commended the island nation's vaccination programme which he said allowed the resort to receive its very first guests from Russia and Israel when it opened a month ago.
Club Méditerranée SA, commonly known as Club Med, is a French company specialising in the sale of all-inclusive holidays in several "vacation villages" which it owns and operates in several usually exotic locations around the world. Club Med is currently managing more than 70 resorts with a labour force of 23 000.
Club Med is re-known for high-end all-inclusive vacations, for families and couples, where guests are referred to as gentle members. The resorts are known as villages run by a village chief.
Club Med Seychelles is the former Beachcomber Sainte Anne Resort & Spa which underwent renovations and transformed from a hotel with 87 rooms to a 5-star resort of 295 rooms. Located in a marine park Club Med boasts several amenities for couples and families including a wide range of entertainment, recreational and sporting activities.
As the concept and core values of Club Med is new to the 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, a special training programme is being worked on with the Seychelles Tourism Academy to ensure that locals are trained and can then join the resort.
"We are also confident that our compatriots will be adequately trained to be able to take over from any expatriate in senior hotel positions. We know that Club Med has a sustained program to support Seychellois in improving their skills and advancing their careers. Local recruitment and the monitoring of these careers are essential for us to preserve our social and economic fabric. We ask our partners to help us accomplish this mission," added Sylvestre Radegonde the minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.
The minister concluded by saying "250 years ago, history was made on this island of Ste Anne. It repeats itself today in the form of – I am tempted to say – the second French settlement on St Anne!"