Europe remains main tourist market for Seychelles


Bernadette Willemin, director of marketing for Europe, making her presentation

This was announced by Bernadette Willemin, director of marketing for Europe, in her presentation at the Seychelles Tourism Board's mid-year review at Le Méridien Barbarons Hotel.

She noted that though there are presently no direct flights from France, the country is still in “pole position" as the main provider of tourists – with 18,547 to date, 16% up on last year.

Germany, which is served by a weekly direct flight operated by Condor, is second with 14,751 visitors and Italy third with 8,564, a drop of 3% on last year.

Ms Willemin said that though there is a drop from Italy, one of Europe's countries worst hit by the economic recession, the fact that it’s only a small percentage, shows that a lot of work has been done by the Seychelles team and tour operators in Italy.

"Most of our competing destinations are feeling the pinch harder than us," she said.
From UK, though visitor arrivals are just about 5,000 by mid-June, this is still an increase of 16%.

Ms Willemin also announced the appointment of young Tinaz Wadia, who was present at the mid-year review, as the Seychelles Tourism Office UK manager who will drive the team presently based there.
The Russian market has also grown by 4% to reach 7,833 visitors, taking fourth position after Italy.

Ms Willemin said that despite the ongoing recession in Europe, she has noted some positive aspects which are undoubtedly contributing to continued growth from Europe.
She said the objective is to attract 157,000 European tourists by the end of the year.

On the positive notes, she mentioned increased exposure brought about by press trips to Seychelles, TV interviews, media meetings and many articles, including some cover stories, in several European travel publications.

She also said that MICE (Meetings, Incentives travel, Conference and Events) is one important market segment which STB intends to tap from Europe, especially during the traditionally low seasons.
Ms Willemin also said there is a stronger bonding with foreign partners, notably tour operators including 250 new contacts.

She noted that some recent developments in airline dynamics also appear favourable to Seychelles. One is the recent launch of Etihad flights to Amsterdam and another is Emirates flying to Stockholm, both of which augur well for Seychelles' marketing drives in northern Europe, spared from recession so far.

Ms Willemin, however, deplored the tendency by most European airports to hike their taxes, which now vary between 300 and 500 euros, a factor which she said impacts negatively on travel to long haul destinations, such as Seychelles.