Seychelles Tourism Board director Alain St Ange has reassured the trade the destination is safe as he holds crisis talks following the second fatal shark attack in a month.
Honeymooner Ian Redmond, 30, from Lancashire, died after what the tourism board described a “freak accident” off Anse Lazio beach on the island of Praslin in the Seychelles.
Holidaymakers have been banned from swimming in five areas until the killer shark has been caught.
Just over two weeks ago a 36-year-old French tourist was also killed off the same beach. Prior to this, the last recorded fatal shark attack in the Seychelles was in 1963.
St Ange, who yesterday was holding crisis talks on how to deal with the trade, told Travel Weekly: “The UK market knows the Seychelles very well and it will remain very safe. We want to reassure the trade that this was a rogue shark and a freak accident. We are doing everything we can.”
The assurances come eight months after a series of shark attacks, including one fatality, in the popular tourist destination of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. The shark attacks, combined with the political riots earlier this year, contributed to slow down sales to the destination.
But the UK trade said the latest fatalities in the Seychelles were unlikely to prompt a serious, longer term dip in sales.
Shamira Kaumaya-Hatt, commercial director of Sunset Faraway Holidays, an Indian Ocean specialist, said: “We have had queries because it’s the second attack on the island but people understand you can’t pre-warn about this type of thing. It may have a small impact on bookings but I don’t think it will be longterm. There is no reason to panic.”
Lesley Dean, sales consultant for weddings and honeymoon specialist travel agency White Sand Weddings, said: “Obviously this is really upsetting but I think people are quite resilient. We have not had any calls from our customers who have booked the Seychelles.”
Association of Independent Tour Operators chairman Derek Moore said: “Although this makes disturbing reading, it’s hardly a frequent incident and I think it will only have a short-term effect (on business).”
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