11.26.17

Tax settings overhauled in recent Seychelles’ 2018 Budget

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction, Tourism industry at 8:39 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles Budget included numerous proposals to change the jurisdiction’s tax settings, including new corporate tax reliefs and the settings for a progressive personal income tax regime.

According to the Government of Seychelles, its proposals for a progressive income tax will mark the 3rd phase of reform efforts that began in April 2016, with the introduction of a higher personal income tax exemption, for those earning less than SCR8,555 (USD618) a month.

Under the new changes, the threshold will remain the same, but income up to SCR10,000 will be subject to a 15% rate; income up to SCR83,333 will be subject to a 20% rate, and a 30% rate will be levied on income above that threshold. Foreign individuals will not benefit from the tax exempt threshold which will be applicable on a monthly basis, in a move said to be to reduce the tax compliance burden.

Also, an alternative for small businesses from being taxed under the business tax regime was proposed. They can be subject instead to a flat fee of SCR3,000, for businesses with a turnover of not more than SCR500,000; or a flat percentage of 3% for those businesses with turnover between SCR500,000 and SCR25m. Those with a turnover greater than this will not be eligible. In addition, it was noted that Seychelles has offered a presumptive tax with a 1.5% rate since 2013.

In the Budget, it is proposed that the following businesses will no longer have 5% tax deducted at source (DAS): building contractors, maintenance contractors, mechanics, hirers or operators of plant and equipment, or hirers of buses.

Amendments are proposed to the Business Tax Act to clarify, first, that Seychelles will have a territorial tax regime and, second, tax on depreciable assets will be limited to the original cost of the asset.

From 2019, the following tax concessions for the tourism sector will be repealed:

  • accelerated depreciation and the 200% allowable deduction for marketing and promotion costs. Instead the Government is considering offering a 200% allowable deduction for employing a qualified Seychellois graduate holding a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree or higher from an institution endorsed by Seychelles Qualification Authority (SQA); a 150% deduction for emoluments paid by an employer to a Post-Secondary or Tertiary, who is in full-time education and in part-time employment, and 150% for a business paying for training endorsed by the Agency of National Human Resources Development (ANHRD).
  • for the maritime industry, “artisanal and semi-industrial fishermen” will no longer be included in the scope of the business tax regime; instead they will play a fee in addition to current license and registration fees.

The Government has proposed to amend the tax rules for landlords of residential buildings to replace the current 15% tax with a 3% tax on gross rental receipts.

These business tax reform proposals are proposed to be effective from January 2019.

In addition, the Government is to reintroduce legislation to establish an immovable property tax, having earlier shelved plans to introduce this tax from July 2017. Under the levy, a rate of 0.25% will be charged on the capital-improved value of property owned by all foreigners as from January 2018. The tax will be applicable for all foreign-owned residential, company-owned, and leased properties of more than 25 years. Owners must make a declaration between January and June 2018, with collections expected to start from October 2018.

In accordance with the Budget, changes to the International Trade Zone Act, 1995, will be considered for inclusion in the 2019 Budget. The rate of tax on plug-in hybrid vehicles will be lowered from 15 to 10%. The Budget also exempts from VAT funeral services and reduces customs duty on dietary supplements from 25 to 0%.

Finally, it was announced in the Budget that the Seychelles Revenue Commission’s (SRC’s) organization structure will be re-organized in 2018.

10.21.17

Seychelles’ explores potential to increase tourist numbers at 2017 Magical Kenya Travel Expo

Posted in Tourism industry at 5:39 pm by Robert Klien

As the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) is constantly looking for opportunities to develop the potential of other source markets, the 2017 Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) provided the perfect opportunity to raise its profile not only among Kenyan visitors but also among visitors from other countries in the region.

The 7th annual event was held in Nairobi from October 3 to 5, 2017. The Seychelles’ stand attracted much interest from prospective partners.

STB’s senior marketing executive Amia Jovanovic-Desir Mrs Jovanovic-Desir said Seychelles’ presence at such exhibitions provides an added advantage in consolidating the island’s image as a tourist destination of choice.

08.10.17

Germans are top Seychelles visitors for 2nd consecutive month

Posted in Business and Economy, Tourism industry at 6:40 pm by Robert Klien

According to national statistics, more people from Germany visited Seychelles than from any other country for the 2nd consecutive month.

Germany is followed closely by France and the UAE.

From the beginning of the year to July, over 27,000 German visitors have set foot in Seychelles, according to Seychelles’ National Bureau of Statistics. That represents a 33% increase compared to the same period in 2016.

A total of 198,898 visitors has entered the country from year to date, which is 21% above last year at this time.

The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Sherin Francis said: “The manager who works with the German market has for a few years now been promoting Seychelles as the ‘partner country’ during the main fairs” held in Germany”.

Talking about the second highest market, France, Francis said that despite the slight decline in the numbers, “STB is pulling big numbers from the country. It is still significant and producing volumes even if we have not been able to grow the market this year.”

To date, around 23,900 visitors to Seychelles came from France. The United Arab Emirates follows with around 16,500 visitors.

 

12.31.16

2016 tourism arrivals is success for Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, Tourism industry at 9:40 pm by Robert Klien

Reviewing tourism in Seychelles for the year 2016, Alain St Ange, the outgoing Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine said: “We started 2016 on a high and today we know that we will finish the year with a 10% increase over last year. So it is a real success story for Seychelles. A success story because we are going against the trend in many other countries where they are either stagnant or even decreasing. The other major success in 2016 was the arrival of extra flights, airlines or planes serving Seychelles. It is a success because a couple of years ago Seychelles suffered when airlines departed.”

Also, Minister St Ange acknowledged the challenges facing the trade where he also outlined certain measures to be taken to counter these challenges. When there is an increase in tourism arrival numbers, it is necessary to manage the expectations of visitors. So, he said that one of the several projects to be undertaken is the upgrading of hotels so that clients can be informed on the level they are and what type of service is expected of them and of what quality they are before the clients come here. Also, tourists must be able to feel they live in security when in Seychelles.

He noted that 2016 started off after a good, successful 2015 where the country finished the year with a Plus 19 increase in visitor arrivals.

As an industry, tourism remained a key driver of growth in consideration of the sector’s contribution to Seychelles’ GDP, foreign exchange earnings and employment generation.

12.04.16

Seychelles is ‘world’s leading honeymoon destination’

Posted in Tourism industry at 2:39 pm by Robert Klien

The Seychelles is a popular destination for beach weddings and honeymoons, and its popularity of the 115-island archipelago among honeymooners was given a boost this weekend, as the jurisdiction was declared the world’s leading honeymoon destination. This top position was announced at the World Travel Awards grand final ceremony.

The award presentation was held on December 2 in Maldives, in the presence of some 250 hospitality leaders from all over the world.

Seychelles emerged as the world’s best in the honeymoon destination category, ahead of 10 other nominees including neighbouring Mauritius, which has been the leader over the past 4 years.

The Seychelles Tourism Board’s chief executive, Sherin Francis described winning the award as a big achievement. “For me when you mention Seychelles, it’s synonymous to romance, weddings and honeymoon. So the award reiterates the message that is always stressed on during our marketing events, that Seychelles is one of the world’s best honeymoon destinations,” Francistold said.

The World Travel Awards, set up in 1993, recognise the very best travel organisations in the world through a global vote by travel professionals.

08.12.16

New Seychelles-Reunion agreement to promote regional tourism

Posted in International relations, Tourism industry at 10:25 am by Robert Klien

A tourism agreement signed between Seychelles and Reunion is to facilitate the exchange of personnel and the sharing of knowledge and expertise.

The memorandum of understanding was signed on August 11 following discussions on the sidelines of the Vanilla Islands’ ministerial meeting held recently in Reunion, a French department in the Indian Ocean.

According to the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Sherin Naiken, the signing was proof of the partnerships existing between Seychelles and Reunion. The agreement is to strengthen this partnership by looking at common marketing projects and promotional activities.

Particularly, the cruise market is an area that will benefit from the new agreement.

The agreement was signed by the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Sherin Naiken and the president of the Fédération Reunionaise du Tourisme, Azzedine Bouali.

Tourism officers from Reunion will be coming to Seychelles to learn more about the country’s tourism and marketing activities.

The new agreement is set for 3 years, but both parties expressed the hope of taking it further.

02.05.16

Dicaprio donates USD 1 Million to Protect Seychelles’ Waters

Posted in International Organisations, Tourism industry at 2:11 pm by Robert Klien

The American actor Leonardo DiCaprio, an increasingly active environmentalist, is donating USD 1 million to the Seychelles for the island nation’s climate change adaption fund.

The money is the first installment of a USD 5 million grant that several organizations will be giving the small island state in February that will be used to help with biotechnology and the fisheries industry.

The Seychelles minister for environment, Didier Dogley, told SNA the government is also receiving assistance from the U.S. environmental organization The Nature Conservancy.

He said: “A number of them together with Leonardo DiCaprio have agreed to give Seychelles $5 million. This year in Davos he revealed the fact that he had pledged USD 1 million to help Seychelles”.

In January, DiCaprio spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He said that the project he is backing in Seychelles, a collection of 115 islands that depends on the ocean to attract tourists and for the fishing industry. “And in our seas, we have partnered with Google and funded the Global Fishing Watch, which is a revolutionary new platform that will actively monitor and ultimately help end the destructive practices of over-fishing,” DiCaprio said. Additionally, they are backing an effort to protect the size of Nebraska in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Seychelles islands, which is home to vital marine species.

12.13.15

Seychelles sees 207% increase in Indian tourist arrivals

Posted in Tourism industry at 1:21 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles have seen an impressive increase of 207% in tourist arrivals from India for the period January-November 2015, compared to the same period last year.

Seychelles Tourism Board said in a release that the surge in tourist arrivals from India can be attributed to the Seychelles India office’s continuous innovative marketing strategies, educating and handholding the travel trade. It was added that commencement of direct flights between the 2 countries, year-long tourist season and visa on arrival have been other key factors which have boosted the tourist arrivals from India.

“We are thrilled with the phenomenal response from the India market in just the 2nd year of us opening office here”, Seychelles Tourism Board CEO Sherin Naiken said. He added: “I strongly believe that this achievement has been possible in such a short time because of a very good team work with Air Seychelles, the DMCs and the resorts. We are geared up and excited for 2016 and are confident that we will keep this momentum alive.”

06.27.15

Abu Dhabi to build new airport in Seychelles

Posted in Business and Economy, Seychelles government, Seychelles infrastructure, Tourism industry at 10:42 am by Robert Klien

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) is close to finalising the investment into building a new airport in the Seychelles capital, according to Seychelles president James Alix Michel.

He said that the negotiations with ADAC to construct a new airport in Victoria near the existing airport are in the process and it is expected to reach agreement on this important economic and tourism project on an investment basis soon. The president expressed his expectations that this project could largely boost airport traffic and the number of tourists to our country.

The Seychelles and Abu Dhabi have a close relationship, with the latter providing $55 million in financial aid in the past decade and Etihad Airways bought a 40% stake in state carrier Air Seychelles in 2012, which has helped the airline to record profits for the past 3 years.

The country also is working with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala in the oil sector, along with other companies from Japan, Australia and Latin America, and the UAE’s Masdar recently launched a wind energy unit in Victoria port with a capacity of six MW, the first of its kind in Seychelles.

05.23.15

Seychelles and Brazil sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement

Posted in International relations, Tourism industry at 1:36 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles and Brazil have signed a bilateral air services agreement (Basa).

The document was signed on behalf of Seychelles by Barry Faure, secretary of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport and the outgoing Brazilian ambassador to Seychelles Francisco Carlos Soares Luz.

The signing of the Basa finalised discussions that took place between the two jurisdictions and aviation authorities during the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) air services negotiations conference held in December 2013 in South Africa.

Barry Faure said, “The air services agreement which we have signed today will finalise this function, this modern framework which encompasses all the major requirements for commercial operations in this modern age of civil aviation, thus ensuring full compliance with international civil aviation’s safety and security rules and procedures”.

He said that the signing will act as a gateway for further development of the two countries’ bilateral relations.

The Brazilian ambassador expressed his hope that Brazil and Seychelles will sign other agreements of this kind to foster tourism.

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