The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) on Friday strongly refuted claims that the local health authority is issuing false positive COVID-19 tests as a way to force tourists to extend their time in the island nation.

STB said that “the initial reports alleging Seychelles was giving out inaccurate test results appeared in the Israeli press and social media after some of their nationals tested positive upon their exit from the holiday destination.”

The STB’s chief executive, Sherin Francis, said it would serve no purpose for Seychelles to interfere with the COVID tests as this would increase the nation’s statistics and reflect negatively on the destination.

“After months of struggling to restart our tourism industry, Seychelles is committed to ensuring that all our guests spend a memorable time on our islands and leave happy at the end of their stay. It would be counterproductive to do otherwise,” she said.

Francis added that, however, Seychelles cannot allow a guest to exit the country if tested positive, in compliance with Seychelles’ and international health and sanitary measures.

“Every guest testing positive during their stay has to quarantine for 10 days before being allowed to return home. This is the norm being observed everywhere. We are asking all our guests who find themselves in such a predicament to follow the quarantine guidelines,” she explained.

Francis stressed that Seychelles is still safe to visit and that such reports should not deter potential clients from visiting the island destination.

This was echoed by the Minister for Foreign and Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, who also confirmed that Seychelles is dedicated to following all safety measures and protocols in place to safeguard both its visitors and the local population.

“No country in the world can claim to be COVID-free. The government and all industry partners are dedicated to ensuring that Seychelles remains safe for all guests and that they keep the best memories of their Seychelles’ holiday. It is not in the interest of Seychelles, our partners, or our guests to do otherwise, knowing how our economy is heavily reliant on tourism,” Radegonde said.

He added that the island nation “is investing a lot of effort and funds in making sure that the experience of the guests remains undisturbed. Nonetheless, this can only be achieved if the visitors also practice the safety and health measures in place.”