The Republic of the Seychelles is a group of 115 islands, 41 granitic and 74 coralline, many of them uninhabited. The islands lie in the Indian Ocean north of Madagascar and form part of the Indian Ocean Island group associated with Africa. The capital city and major port is Victoria on the island of Mahe.

The official languages are English and French. However, the lingua franca of the islands’ population is Creole. The local currency is the Seychelles rupee (SR). (US$ / SR – current exchange rate).

The Seychelles oil industry is an important element in the economy of the country as all petroleum products have to be imported. On the upstream side, exploration of offshore tracts is currently underway. Electricity is provided by the parastatal Public Utilities Corporation.

Tourism is the country’s main industry, accounting for most of the Seychelles’ foreign exchange. Fishing, mainly tuna, is also an important industry, increasingly so since the tuna canning factory became privately owned in 1995. Agriculture, however, has not been significantly developed.

Since independence, the Seychelles’ economy has experienced growth. More recently the country has been trying to improve its economy by reducing debt and privatising industries.

The international time zone for the Seychelles is GMT +4 and the international dialling code is +248. There are many major airlines which fly to the international airport at Mahe. Visas are not required for visitors staying less than one month.

Hepatitis A, dengue fever and typhoid fever may be contracted while travelling in the Seychelles. The risk of contraction is based on a number of factors including location, individual’s state of health, current immunisation status, and the local disease situation.

Shaun Bakamoso

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