Border crossings are rarely at the forefront of innovation with paperwork, queues and delays often built into the cost of traveling. When Seychelles reopened its borders in March 2021, after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the immediate priority was to try and streamline the health screening process.
Today, the entire arrivals experience has been overhauled with a state-of-the-art biometric border management system helping to eliminate paperwork, cut down queues and crucially, ensure the nation's borders were not shut down again.
Working with Travizory Border Security, the Government of Seychelles was able to implement a state-of-the-art cloud-based solution to screen arrivals for health risks and to manage contact tracing of travelers within the country. Introducing a Health Travel Authorization meant that all travelers were required to meet national conditions for travel - before they stepped foot onto a plane.
The Health Travel Authorization is part of the revolutionary Travizory Visitor Management Platform (VMP). The VMP uses artificial intelligence technology to validate health certificates, collect and verify traveler’s identity and ensure all necessary documentation is pre-submitted to authorities for vetting.
The VMP allows to conduct contact tracing in the planes and in the country, by collecting airlines API/PNR data as well as hotel booking information.
The Seychelles has been able to safely reopen knowing that only approved travelers would be allowed to travel to the islands. Rolled out in phases, the Seychelles has since evolved from asking travelers to present a QR-code on arrival, to using advanced walk-through biometric technology to identify and classify passengers by their face as they arrive.
A digital transformation
In December 2021, the Seychelles became the first country in Africa and only the second in the world to introduce walkthrough biometric technology at its borders. With the installation of Travizory’s biometric corridor, the Seychelles arrival experience has been completely transformed into a digital, contactless and paperless one.
Recognising the value of this system for wider travel challenges, the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, Ministry for Transport and Immigration Department worked closely with Travizory to completely retire paper for passenger processing at the airport. Today, all arrivals must complete the necessary Immigration and Customs formalities ahead of travel - allowing Border Officials to screen and vet passengers before they land.
A huge step forward from a passenger experience perspective, the new system also offers a quantum leap in security. By equipping Border Officers with digital tools to pre-screen, vet and classify passengers, the Seychelles Authorities can now flag risky individuals and allocate resources more intelligently and effectively.
A world-class experience
Driving improvements at the airport, the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) recently recorded its fastest ever screening times for arrival passengers - with all necessary checks including Health, Immigration, Customs and baggage claim completed in just 35 minutes per 100 passengers.
Health screening alone has dropped from 55 minutes to just 8 minutes per 100 passengers since the introduction of the biocorridor, while the time to process 100 passengers for Immigration has dropped 50% from 41 minutes to 20 minutes following integration with Travizory’s paperless system.
Crucially, this sees the SCAA well on-track to reach the ICAO standard for overall passenger processing of 45 minutes with 61% of flights processed within this target. A marked increase from the 20% of flights meeting this target before the digital system was implemented.
Not just an efficient tool for facilitation, the Travizory system was also pivotal in the successful uptick in tourism numbers in the second half of 2021. By giving travelers confidence that they would not be turned away or quarantined at the border, Seychelles quickly reached prepandemic visitor numbers, just a few months after reopening.
A testament to its thriving tourism sector, the Seychelles was the highest performing economy in Africa in 2021. This is in no small part thanks to passenger pre-screening which permitted the Government to remain open to the majority of travelers - something that was unthinkable for most in the region.
Maximizing security, while minimizing friction - Seychelles has successfully navigated the pandemic using an innovative approach to technology that continues to set it apart from other destinations.