Meeting with Edith Hunzinger, outgoing director for STB office in Germany, Austria and Switzerland | 29 January 2020
‘Your love and passion for what you do drive you to achieve good results’
Effective April 2020, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) office in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will see the departure of its current director, Edith Hunzinger, who is retiring from her 12-year position on that market. Mrs. Hunzinger will be replaced by Josephine Damrow as director for the German and Austrian markets and Judeline Edmond for the Swiss market.
Catching up with her on the sideline of the STB marketing meeting earlier this month, Mrs Hunzinger talked about her imminent departure at a time when the German tourist market’s performance over the 52 weeks of 2019 has been the highest performer with 72,509 visitors recorded last year.
Seychelles NATION : Soon you will be leaving the tourism industry after so many years and at a time when the German market is doing so well...
Edith Hunzinger: I have spent 32 years altogether working in tourism, 12 years from that as the director for the German and other markets. But I am happy to be leaving at a time when the market is at the top.
I remember in 1988 visitors from the German market stood at around 5,000 only.
Seychelles NATION: Over the years how would you describe the progress that has been made on the markets and the success that has come in?
Edith Hunzinger: For me it is an important achievement to be able to take a market which use to beat number 5 or 4 and bring it to number 1 and to be able to keep it there for some years. All along Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been bringing the most visitors to Seychelles and this is the result of hard work, lots of patience and the amount of passion I put in my job but in the end it was all worth it. I still love and enjoy my work but I am 62 years old and soon to be 63. I could have continued for some two more years but it is a lot of work and very demanding so I had to take a decision. But believe me it was not an easy decision to make. But I would still be around and available for any words of advice to my successor.
But I think there are so many changes taking place and the younger generation would be better placed to address these.
Seychelles NATION : What would you say have guided you and led to the remarkable increase on the German market?
Edith Hunzinger: Making the most of marketing opportunities which includedworking weekends when there were fairs taking place. There have always been two of us in the office and it has always been long extra hours every day as well. But we are passionate about what we do and we enjoy our work as well and the results are obvious.
I can sing, I can dance and I play music, I can cook and there was nothing for Seychelles that I could not do myself and I think being an icon for Seychelles on the German market gives me this strength and power to wake up every morning because up to now everything I have done I’ve had people showing great appreciation.
Seychelles NATION: Today when you look back and are able to appreciate the fruits of your hard work how do you feel?
Edith Hunzinger: I have all the reasons to be very happy and feel on top of the world as I have somehow made history in the tourism industry because no one else before me has achieved all these figures and with the grace of God I tried my best to manage the budget allocated responsibly as well. I am happy that I received the trust of the government and the people of Seychelles.
I know it is a pair of big shoes somebody else will be stepping in but I do hope the figure will keep growing. But I will be helping out and it is for this reason I am holding on until March.
Seychelles NATION: What would you say are the biggest challenges, disappointments in the work you do?
Edith Hunzinger: There have been no challenges and disappointments that I could not handle. I am a very positive person and I would admit there have been hurdles of course such as fighting for the budget, talking to people who do not understand you, lack of good communication and understanding.
Seychelles NATION: And your greatest satisfaction?
Edith Hunzinger: Being able to keep the sparkle in your personality at all times to convince people that Seychelles is beautiful and sparkling and a fun place to relax. But more importantly seeing all your hard work and effort bear fruits.
Seychelles NATION:Any word of advice for your successor?
Edith Hunzinger: I would advise the person to be strong, to move carefully and to seek advice where necessary. I will be around to help the person to grow as much and as long as is necessary because the market needs to continue to grow and do well. I wish my successor all the best of luck.
Interview by Marie-Anne Lepathy
Photo courtesy STB News Bureau