South African Airways’, Ethiopian Airlines’ wide reach beneficial to Seychelles tourism


David Germain, director of marketing for Africa, the Americas and Middle East, giving an overview of the market’s performance at STB’s mid-year review

Speaking at STB’s mid-year review of market performances and gauging promotional efforts this week at the Le Méridien Barbarons, in the presence of Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St Ange and STB chief executive Elsia Grandcourt, Mr Germain said that the African market looks promising.

He noted that from January to June 2013, Seychelles received just over 5,000 visitors from South Africa, which is a 13% hike on the corresponding period last year. STB is projecting 12,000 visitors on South African market by December 2013.

“We can obtain 12,000 visitors. There’s a lot of wealth in South Africa and it is important that we use these opportunities to get a fair share of this market,” said Mr Germain.

He added that the STB  has selected four new African markets for special attention – Nigeria, Angola, Botswana and Namibia – and said that the "wide reach" of South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, which both have several weekly flights to Seychelles, will be particularly helpful in tapping these markets.

He noted that all those countries are rich in minerals or petroleum and a significant segment of their population are opting for vacations outside the mainland.

Mr Germain noted that the Indaba exhibition in May this year was particularly beneficial with the participation of many African and American operators.
He also noted that STB’s marketing strategy, with more PR activities, is paying off in terms of more visibility for Seychelles.

He said Seychelles has been featured on some TV channels, and in 73 newspaper articles. More press and media visits to Seychelles are planned. 
Mr Germain said this year some road shows are planned to target special markets such as Port Elizabeth and East London.

At this point, Mr St Ange said his South African counterpart is due in Seychelles in August, accompanied by a high-level delegation and crews from four TV channels. He said this will constitute a golden opportunity not only to showcase Seychelles, but for local agents to meet the operators who are selling Seychelles.

Mr Germain said competing markets for the South African tourism market are mainly Mozambique, Zanzibar and the Maldives.
He noted that Mauritius is getting too commercialised and not as appealing to South African vacationers as before.

He also said that the average South African visitor is budget conscious, with the average considering any package (including air fares) between12,000 and 15,000 rands as too expensive.

On South America, Mr Germain said the Seychelles share market is still small, with only 361 arrivals to date from Brazil, where STB appointed a tourism representation in the Brazilian economic powerhouse of Sao Paolo in April.

He added that the market has strong potential and South African Airways can help tap that with its daily flights to the Brazilian cities, adding that STB is also targeting Argentina, Chile and eventually Paraguay.

He said that the recent code sharing agreement concluded between Air Seychelles and South African Airways can mean easy access to our islands.

On North America, Mr Germain said that four airlines – South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates and Etihad – which fly to US cities virtually every day, mean easy connections to Seychelles which can be reached in less in 24 hours.

He noted that the North American market to date has grown by 6% to 2,193 visitors.

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