With 65% of the Seychelles’ GDP dependent on tourism, the training of tourism and hospitality staff is a crucial factor for the recovery of the sector post-COVID.
As Hilton Hotels continues to expand its Seychelles footprint, it is aiming to train at least 200 new tourism and hospitality graduates at the Fitir Academy at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa. The opening of the academy coincides with the construction of two new hotels – the Waldorf Astoria Platte Island and the Canopy by Hilton Mahé – which will add to the three existing Seychelles hotels under the Hilton brand.
The academy will train groups of students in three-month intervals. The first 12 students, recruited from the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA), are being trained in housekeeping and office administration, while the next batch will be trained in restaurants, food and beverage.
“The school set-up is the beginning of our plan to fill over 300 career opportunities that Waldorf Astoria Platte Island will bring to the Seychelles. We cannot sit back and wait for the final few months before opening to recruit. We are being proactive in training a new enthusiastic team who will work on Platte Island,” said Hilton Group Seychelles Area Manager, André Borg.
Sherin Francis, Seychelles Secretary for Tourism, said the academy aligned with the government’s focus on redeveloping capacity following the impacts of COVID-19.
"This initiative complements what the Ministry of Tourism is trying to do: to increase capacity building, attract people to remain in the industry and encourage those who have left to come back to tourism. Maybe other partners in the industry can follow in Hilton’s footsteps to continuously help build capacity."
In July, the STA also resumed exchange visits with the two tourism training establishments on Réunion Island. Between 2004 and 2019 the programme saw more than 200 students and 50 instructors benefiting from the visits.
Hannelie du Toit, Chief Operations Officer of SATSA, stressed that enhanced training was vital for the preservation of the Seychelles’ inbound tourism market.
“Tourism is internationally regarded as one of the industries that will drive economic recovery post-COVID, and this is particularly true for the Seychelles, which relies so heavily on tourism. Filling skills shortages and engaging in ongoing skills development is hugely critical for the country to remain a destination of choice.”