Seychelles goes for bigger market share in South Africa


22-May-2009

Indaba, which brings the African tourism trade together every year in Durban, South Africa, was held from May 9-12.

Alain St Ange, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s (STB) director of tourism marketing, said the South African market has grown over the last years, with 2007 being a record year bringing a total of 8,219 visitors here.

(From l to r ) Ms Hoffman, Mr Germain and Mrs Hoareau at the Indaba fair

 

The Seychelles Tourist Office in South Africa has been making great efforts to break the perception that the country caters only for the top end of the market.

Currently, Africa occupies fifth place as the best performing market for Seychelles behind France, Italy, Germany and the UK and Ireland.

The new Affordable Seychelles campaign, launched at the beginning of the year by the STB, is well suited to the South African market and the Indaba fair was an ideal opportunity to promote the islands.

David Germain, Seychelles’ regional manager for South Africa, said the market has major potential to produce better results as Seychelles has what South African clients are looking for.

“The South Africans love exploring and discovering, and this is where we stand out against all our competitors because we have so much to offer in terms of activities and the diversity of our many islands,” he said.

“Fly-fishing, for example, appeals very much to the South Africans, and this is one niche market that we are pushing forward.”
 
The romance and honeymoon niche also works well for that market, especially since the twice-weekly flights out of Johannesburg to Seychelles leave during the weekend. Couples can get married on Friday or Saturday and fly out the next day for their honeymoon in Seychelles, where they can stay for one whole week.

“Consumers need to know that we cannot be compared to our competitors,” said Mr Germain.

“We have so many islands that they can visit, spend time there, experience something new and at the end feel like they’ve visited several destinations in one destination.”

He added that South Africa and many other African countries have the right “consumer segments” for specific products in Seychelles, especially the small hotels and guesthouses featured in the Seychelles Secrets portfolio.

Mr Germain also said there has been an increase in the number of journalists who want to feature Seychelles. From South Africa to South America the demand is growing, and the STB delegation at Indaba met over 20 representatives of the press, travel magazines and TV programmes.

“We need to capitalise on the momentum out there and get Seychelles on all the TV channels, magazines and newspapers that are willingly coming forward to feature us,” said Lena Hoareau of the STB’s News Bureau.

“These are free publicity opportunities that should be captured and taken advantage of. We should feed them constantly with news on Seychelles and get them to feature the islands as much as possible so as to increase awareness as well as update the world on our destination.”

In terms of marketing, Blaisila Hoffman from the STB’s head office has confirmed that their move to target consumers directly is paying off in the South African market, and the growing potential from South America, notably Argentina and Brazil, should not be ignored.

“The STB will be working closely with the key South American tour operators to reintroduce the Seychelles destination to that market,” she said.

“We will soon be attending the FIT trade fair in Argentina to ensure we create visibility for Seychelles in that market so as to win a fair share of that top market segment as a two-centre destination with South Africa.”

Members of the Seychelles tourism trade who were at Indaba described it as a platform where they could negotiate and secure business with new partners, as the interest in Seychelles keeps growing in that part of the world. They are fully supporting the STB in its Affordable Seychelles campaign, echoing the same message at their many meetings.

During Indaba, the STB organised a Seychelles evening for all its supporting tour operators at the Ushaka Marine World Restaurant in Durban to thank them for their continued support in featuring and selling Seychelles.

Besides the STB delegation, which also included Sharon Rosalie, other companies represented at Indaba were Air Seychelles, Mason’s Travel, Select Seychelles, Creole Travel Services, Banyan Tree Resorts, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Beach Resort, Le Méridien Group, Eden Island and Desroches Island Resort.

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