Via AirlineRoute, Ethiopian is canceling service to the Seychelles from March 2014. This follows in the footsteps of the mighty Qatar who long ago canceled it’s Seychelles service, meaning that now neither Star Alliance or OneWorld have any service into this beautiful country. Even Emirates has reduced it’s service though fortunately they still have daily flights from Dubai. Kenya Airways flights from Nairobi are now the only alliance affiliated flights to the Seychelles, though Etihad’s service from Abu Dhabi and Emirates service from Dubai remain accessible options for miles bookings using the likes of American or Alaskan Airlines’ mileage programs. All of these cuts also follow on from the national flag carrier Air Seychelles dropping it’s international service in 2011 – they used to have a great flight to Paris that was an Air France code-share that could be booked with Delta miles, but that is another piece of history now.

I really do not understand the inability of the Seychelles to better develop it’s tourist industry. Make no bones about it, the Seychelles is an absolutely beautiful country. Truly stunning. It’s various islands have served for many photo shoots and film sets. It’s tourism competitor to the south, Mauritius, is like wasteland compared to the exotic natural beauty of the Seychelles, the world’s only granitic islands. I have seen plenty of “world’s best beaches” lists, but the incredible beaches like Anse Lazio on Praslin or Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue Island really do have a strong claim on that title (not to mention some of the sexiest beach names on the planet!)

Mrs Milesabound enjoying the view on Isle St Pierre

Despite this over-abundance of natural beauty I have not seen significant progress in the tourism industry since our first vacation in 2000 (when we flew there with British Airways, another airline that has long since withdrawn service). While the Maldives has developed a hugely vibrant and profitable tourism industry, the Seychelles is getting harder and harder to get to, and options on places to stay when you get there are not overly abundant. In 2011 we stayed at one of Starwood’s offerings, Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove, and it felt like it was straight out of 1975.

Milesabound Junior on a beautiful beach

The country got some great publicity when British royal-celebs Will & Kate honeymooned there (staying at the beautiful looking Desroches Island, renowned for excellent diving and deep sea fishing) and it certainly does seem to have developed a few uber high end resorts like North Island or Fregate Island, they just don’t seem to have found a groove in terms of good quality, aspirational but accessible properties. Between our visits in 2000 and 2011 both Four Seasons and Banyan Tree opened up resorts here, but not much else, and even those properties have not garnished the kind of feedback many of their global siblings have enjoyed. And I am sure that is a huge part of why demand just isn’t there and as such airlines are cutting back on capacity.

So anyway, as I say Ethiopian is cutting it’s service. But I think until the tourism industry in this incredibly beautiful country get it’s act together, I don’t see accessibility improving any time soon.

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  • marathon man

    we visited SEZ a couple years ago and took Qatar in and Ethiopian out. Both were decent. Too bad to see Ethiopian go away from this.

    • MilesAbound

      There you go… both options that are now gone. In the meantime it seems every week some other random Asian carrier adds service to Maldives, and Mauritius is rapidly expanding too. Maybe they like to keep it to themselves, but the economy of the country could do with boost (tourism is still far and away biggest industry)

  • Katie

    This is such a bummer. My husband and I were actually booked on EA for May (with US Airways miles) and just reviewed our itinerary to realize we no longer had a way to SEZ. Now it looks like there’s no Star Alliance options (and no OneWorld, either, which US Airwarys will soon be a part of). Quick question–when you say “Kenya Airways flights from Nairobi are now the only alliance affiliated flights to the Seychelles” are you saying that Kenya Airways is part of Star Alliance? Or do you just mean they are part of AN alliance. I think it’s the latter. What a shame!!

    • MilesAbound

      I am sorry to hear that! Yes when I say the KQ flight is the only alliance affiliated flight I mean SkyTeam as in it’s the only flight now that has any affiliation with any kind of alliance. I’d be curious to know what US will offer you – maybe with the the new AA connection they can offer you something with Etihad? It would be worth a try