Tourism sector in Seychelles mourns passing of one of its pioneers

The Seychelles' tourism sector is mourning the loss of one of its pioneers who passed away earlier this week.

Louis D'Offay -- a well-known and a highly respected hotelier in the island nation -- died at his home on Praslin, the second-most populated island, on Tuesday. His funeral service will be held on Praslin on Saturday, July 22nd.

Our Seychellois tourism family has lost a hard working son; we will celebrate your contribution to Seychelles as we pray for you. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the family, said the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne.

D'Offay, 73, was the owner of L'Archipel, a small hotel overlooking the Cote d'Or bay on Praslin that he built in the 1980s.

Wanting to contribute more to the tourism sector, D'Offay was elected as chair of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association and became the longest serving member. He stepped down in 2013 after serving 15 years.

He was also a long serving member of the Seychelles Tourism Board and its predecessor the Seychelles Marketing Authority until 2012.

The chief executive of the Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, said The Seychelles' tourism industry has lost one of its pioneers. I am convinced that Mr D'Offay will be remembered for the great work he has done for the industry and Seychelles.

He will be remembered for his dedication to the industry's association which he led by example and gave time and money to make the association work.

D'Offay started his career on Silhouette in the Seychelles archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. From Silhouette, the self-taught hotelier moved to Praslin where he took over the management of the 'Village du Pecheur' and turned it into a cosy, homely hotel with a good reputation for its food.

His biggest success story is the hotel he owned -- L'Archipel -- which is today, a reputable four-star hotel, well known for its charming environment with a long list of returning clients.

The former Minister for Tourism of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange, who knew D'Offay both professionally and as a friend, said, Louis wanted to see the Seychelles tourism industry succeed. He also seized opportunities and was never known to shy away from a venture if he thought it would help the industry.

I was fortunate to have known Louis D'Offay for many, many years and consider him to have been a wonderful and very cherished friend of mine. Goodbye Louis, my dear friend. I am honoured to have known you. Seychelles will miss you. I will miss you, said St. Ange.

The editor of Sealife magazine, a long-time tourism professional and former executive director of the Tourism Association, Kate Carolus, paid tribute to D'Offay through a post on Facebook.

(He was a) Mentor and bon vivant who incarnated the hospitality that he made his business. (He) fought tooth and nail to make it better for those who made a living from tourism and for our visitors. We are less by your passing, said Carolus in her post.

D'Offay, who had a passion for the sea and was once active on the political scene, leaves behind five children, Jean-Paul, Simon, Jean-Marc, Lucas and Caroline.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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