Presidents of Seychelles, Sri Lanka meet, discuss tourism, commerce, health

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and President Danny Faure of Seychelles met on Monday as Sirisena and his delegation kicked off a three-day official visit.

Commerce, tourism, health and education are areas that the two island nations have agreed to develop further, Vice President Vincent Meriton of Seychelles said after the meeting.

We have the Sri Lankan Airline that is offering three flights per week and it is always full. Discussion has been made to see if we can have one flight each day. This will benefit both sides as Seychelles will gain access to the Asian market and in return, Sri Lanka will also benefit from the African market, said Meriton.

Since a lot of locals travel to Sri Lanka for leisure we have discussed if the number for their stay can be increased from 60 to 90 days, he added.

The Vice President said that Seychellois are also flying to Sri Lanka for medical care and this is something good and should be continued.

Faure and Sirisena also talked about education and how to achieve better collaborations between Sri Lanka and Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka has offered Seychelles 10 scholarships each year and the President (Faure) has given his engagement to fill up the scholarship each year with students meeting the criteria, said Meriton.

Moreover the Sri Lankan president has expressed his interest together with the Seychelles' authorities to establish a vocational centre to train more Seychellois to fill up the gap in the labour market and post occupied by foreigners, added the Seychelles' vice president.

According to figures of the Seychelles' Ministry of Employment, there are 21,000 foreign workers in Seychelles and many of them are employed in the construction sector.

Sirisena is the first president to make a state visit to Seychelles since Faure assumed office in October 2016. The Sri Lankan President and his delegation will be in the island nation from October 8 to October 10. The President's visit is coinciding with the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Seychelles.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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