Visitor arrival figures surpass expectations


Visitors disembarking at the Seychelles International Airport

Year-to-date figures for 2013 show a 14% increase over the 2012 figures as at June 30, 2013.

"Despite all the challenges our tourism industry is facing, we are still riding a good wave. The economic difficulties in our main markets is showing no sign of redress, but the planning undertaken by the Seychelles Tourism Board's (STB) marketing team and the board's overseas offices at the annual marketing strategy meetings keeps us being proactive and intelligent in our sales and marketing actions," said Tourism and Culture Minister Alain St Ange.

Seychelles has maintained a good level of visibility in all markets due to its strong links with press organisations and by working to get press representatives to visit Seychelles during major events organised in the country.

The major challenge remains to derive maximum benefits from the visibility and this involves travel agents that sell Seychelles to know the destination once they have committed to push it.

This remains a weak link in the Seychelles strategy which suffered even more since the STB lost the airline seats for travel agents previously provided by Air Seychelles to all the main markets.

This point was raised only a week ago at the mid-year review meeting between the Seychelles tourism trade and the tourism board marketing team.

"We have broken into the world of events because we knew that this would increase press coverage for Seychelles over and above providing entertainment for our people. The annual Carnaval International de Victoria continues to surpass the expected press coverage. We now have to raise the bar for the Festival Kreol, and we need to do the same for Subios, our Festival of the Sea.

“Then we have to sell the events centered on our diversity of culture and promote our celebrations of the Commonwealth Day, the Francophonie celebrations and now the Indian Day in Seychelles. And we must also promote the Chinese Spring Festival when this is finally launched.

“Our diversity is a unique selling point and we need to be proud of the five source branches making the Seychellois nation we see today," added Minister St Ange.

Today, Europe is showing a clear 12% increase in visitor arrivals over 2012, with France alone increasing by 12%, UK by 14%, and Germany by a staggering 29%.
Asia is also showing signs of growth as is Africa and the Americas.

"The diversification policy of the tourism board has worked and the push to continue to claim our fair share from our traditional markets at the same time is keeping us moving forward. We now need the private sector to look at how to increase yield from our tourism industry and this is not and cannot be just the room rates. We need more for tourists to spend on and it is in this area the private sector needs to concentrate," the minister said.

Minister St Ange has congratulated Senpa and the Kempinski Resorts for working together to stage a weekly artisanal bazaar during the resorts’ weekly management cocktail for guests.

"This is a commendable initiative and more hotels and resorts should be encouraged to follow this example. The sales at such events represent money entering our country from tourism. If we all get involved we will see more benefits and our artisans and local musicians will feel more part of the industry that remains the pillar of our economy," he noted.