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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Seychelles

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Seychelles: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Seychelles

Business attire is generally informal so businessmen do not wear suits and ties. However, a smart appearance is advised for both men and woman. Most executives speak English and/or French.

Office Hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1600. Most government offices and some private businesses are closed on weekends and public holidays.

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Economy

The Seychelles economy is largely service based with tourism, the largest industry, accounting for 25% of GDP. In 2012, this stood at $1.03 billion and the annual growth rate was 4%. Inflation stood at 3.2% in January 2014.

Manufacturing, construction, and industrial fishing, notably tuna fishing, account for about 28.8% of the GDP. Fishing became increasingly important from the 1980s onwards, both through expansion of domestic operations and the lucrative sale of licences to foreign fleets fishing in territorial waters. However, more recently, piracy in the Indian Ocean has hit the fishing industry hard.


Industry comprises a small mining sector, boat building and light and small-scale food and drinks businesses such as the privatised Seychelles Tuna Canning Factory. There is also a thriving re-export business based on a recently established export-processing zone.

The main financial problem for the Seychelles is the size of the country's external debt. As the islands must import many essential products (an expensive process given their location) this consumes the bulk of the foreign exchange earned from tourism.

The Seychelles' isolation from other markets and its reliance on service-based industry makes to particularly vulnerable to economic downturns and global recessions. In order to make itself less reliant on tourism, it has recently promoted the development of the fishing and farming industries.

GDP

US$1.03 billion (2012)

Main exports

Canned tuna, frozen fish, cinnamon bark, copra and re-exports of petroleum products.

Main imports

Foodstuffs, machinery, equipment, fuel and petroleum products.

Main trading partners

UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Mauritius.

Keeping in Touch in Seychelles

Telephone

There are public payphones available on the islands, although they have been made somewhat redundant by increasing mobile phone usage. Hotels will usually be equipped with landline telephones for guest use.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies and coverage is fine on most of the islands.

Internet

There are several internet cafes on Mahé. Most of the larger hotels have Wi-Fi access for guest use, but internet connections may be rather slower than what is available in Europe or the USA.

Media

The media is very much controlled by the island's government, with opposition newspapers and dissenting voices often suppressed, despite freedom of speech being enshrined in the constitution. The government operates SBC (Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation) national medium wave (AM) services and music station Paradise FM; the BBC World Service and Radio France Internationale are available via FM relays. Seychelles Nation is an English-language newspaper (morning daily except on Sundays) whilst Regar is an opposition weekly publication.

Post

The main post office is in Victoria. Airmail collections are at 1500 weekdays and 1200 Saturdays; airmail to Western Europe normally takes up to one week.

Post Office hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1600, Sat 0800-1200.