Fish processing is the only major industry in Seychelles. Most importantly, a factory in Victoria is one of the largest preserved tuna plants in the world. Virtually all production is exported to Europe. There are also some small industries that produce consumer goods for the domestic market.
The Victoria Fish Factory was founded in 1987 as a joint venture between Seychelles and France. The state still owns a large share of the factory, while the foreign owners have been replaced several times.
Lack of water has sometimes caused production stoppages. Nevertheless, production has increased, in 2014 just over 32,000 tonnes of canned tuna were produced, in 2017 production had increased to over 40,000 tonnes.
Water shortages have also led to Seybrew’s privately owned brewery sometimes having to suspend production. Lack of foreign currency has meant that the company has not been able to import enough bottles. The company also competes with beer imported from outside.
In addition, the industry consists of small businesses that produce everything from cigarettes and detergents to printed matter, paints and souvenirs to tourists.
A tax-free zone for export industries was created in 1995. Companies that establish themselves there do not have to follow the labor, tax and immigration laws. One reason why the export promotion zone has not grown as much as in many other countries is the relatively high labor costs in the country.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Seychelles. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Seychelles exports are dominated by canned tuna and oil re-export. Dependence on imported goods is great and the country has a large deficit in the merchandise trade with the outside world.
The deficit is partly offset by tourism income, aid and private investment, but the current account balance is also negative.
As much as 90 percent of what is consumed in the country must be imported. This applies to pretty much everything except some fish, fruit, vegetables, bird, beer, cigarettes, paints and plastics. The most important import goods are fuels (mainly oil), food and machinery and vehicles. Imports mainly come from the United Arab Emirates, France, Spain and South Africa (2012).
Canned tuna accounts for over half of exports and re-exported oil products, approximately 45 percent (2012). Major exporting countries are France, the United Kingdom and Italy (2012).
The state-owned Seychelles Trading Company (STC) shall be independent and engaged in the import, storage and distribution of goods. However, competition in the import sector has increased.
Seychelles is a member of the Comesa Regional Free Trade Area. In April 2015, the island nation became a member of the World Trade Organization after many years of negotiations.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 562 million (2018)
US $ 1,234 million (2018)
– US $ 269 million (2018)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
117 percent (2018)
Main export goods
canned tuna, re-export of oil products
Largest trading partner
France, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Spain (2012)
The Seychelles attract tourists with their pleasant climate and beautiful scenery. Most of them visit the three main islands: Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
The tourism industry is of great economic importance to the country and is one of the most important sources of income in foreign currency. The industry employs about one third of the workforce.
The government wants to continue to increase tourism, but in 1998 set a ceiling of 200,000 visitors a year to protect the environment, but that limit is now exceeded. In 2017, almost 350,000 visitors came. In the early 2000s many new luxury hotels were built and the number of cruise ships calling the islands also increased. Ecotourism is also being invested in smaller islands further out in the sea band. Most of the tourists come from Europe, especially from Germany and France. In recent years, more and more visitors have come to Seychelles from the United Arab Emirates and China.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
303 000 (2016)
US $ 505,000,000 (2016)
The share of tourist income from exports
37.3 percent (2016)