In 2018, the country had one of the highest GDP in Africa. Since the opening of the international airport at Mahé in 1971, the country’s economy has been dominated by the tourism industry.
Agriculture, which was previously the most important industry, accounted for only 2 percent of GDP in 2017 and employed 3 percent of the employed. The lack of agricultural land complicates the development of agriculture and explains the country’s great dependence on food imports. Rice, the most important basic food, is imported. Agricultural products exported are coconuts, cinnamon and vanilla. The fisheries and exports of both fresh and frozen and canned fish, especially tuna, have increased in importance since 1978, when the Seychelles established a 200-mile fishing zone. Fishing rights are sold to a number of foreign fishing fleets. Problems with pirates in the waters have had a negative impact on catches since the end of the 1990s.
The industry, which employs 23 percent of the employed and accounts for 14 percent of GDP, is dominated by the food industry. The most important source of energy is oil, which together with machines and food accounts for a large part of imports. The most important trading partners are the United Arab Emirates, France, the United Kingdom and Spain.
- COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Seychelles, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.
Tourism and gastronomy
Seychelles has a pleasant climate and fine beaches, and tourism is very important for the country’s economy. The island group was visited in 1995 by 121,000 foreign visitors and in 2012 by 208,000. To protect the environment, the government has set a ceiling of 200,000 visitors per year. Most visitors come from Europe, mainly France. In order to preserve the sensitive and unique nature but still receive good income from tourism, a well thought-out tourism policy is implemented which involves investing in strong groups at the same time as large areas are set aside as national parks and nature reserves. Tourism is concentrated to the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
- According to AllCityPopulation, the capital city of Seychelles is Victoria with a population of 28,000 (UN estimate 2018). Other major cities include Anse Royal.
Seafood dominates the cuisine of the Seychelles; mackerel, shark, tuna, parrot, shrimp, crab, crawfish and octopus are eaten grilled with fruits and vegetables or in a mostly chilli curry stew with rice. Often, a soup starts the meal, perhaps of broad, which is a general term for leafy greens, and onions and tomatoes. Chili is included in almost all dishes and is also served as a snack, perhaps in the company of strong chutneys of e.g. mango and pumpkin. Salads (satini, often with vegetables and fruits mixed) with lime dressing are popular. Pwason saleis dried, salted fish, which is a common ingredient in pots. Meat (goat, chicken, lamb or bat) is often turned into a stew with sweet potatoes or a curry. The desserts can consist of sumptuous fruit salads or often heavy and powerful coconut or banana cakes.