Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the Seychelles’ Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine and Dr Li Jinzao, the Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on tourism cooperation.
The MoU was signed on Monday 11th September 2017, in the margins of the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), held in Chengdu, China, under the theme Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals – Journey to 2030.
Also present at the signing ceremony were Mrs Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Ms Vivianne Fock-Tave, Seychelles’ resident Ambassador in China and Mr Jean-Luc Lai-Lam, the Seychelles Tourism Board Director for China.
During the meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Minister Loustau-Lalanne said the conclusion of the agreement was a positive step forward and showcases the willingness of the Seychelles and Chinese governments to renew their partnership and deepen the people to people ties in the tourism sector.
The objective of the MoU is to provide a broad framework for cooperation in the tourism sector through tourism and data exchange, support for marketing and promotion programmes, training programmes, exchange of tourism product development and collaboration between tourism associations.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said: “The Chinese market is becoming more important for Seychelles. Since we would like our Chinese visitors to feel at home away from home, we would like to welcome Chinese investors to develop tourism related services that will benefit both the Chinese and other visitors. Furthermore, since we have a Bilateral Air Service Agreement in place between our two countries, we would like to see Chinese airlines flying to Seychelles in order to improve air links between our two countries.”
For his part, the head of the China National Tourism Administration, Dr Li Jinzao expressed the willingness of China to enhance the cooperation with Seychelles in the field of tourism and emphasized on the uniqueness of Seychelles as a dream destination for the Chinese tourists.
“Seychelles has been playing an important and dynamic role in advocating the importance of sustainable tourism for Small Island Developing States. The country’s sustainable tourism policies are inspirational to other countries,” said Dr Li.
In 2011 when the Seychelles Tourism Board decided to tap into the Chinese market, visitor arrivals from China stood at only around 500 annually. In just under five years this figure had grown to over 15,000 in 2016, ranking China as the 6th country contributing the most tourists to the Seychelles.
This achievement has been part and parcel of the continuous success of the country’s sustainable policies that have resulted in numerous accolades. With Seychelles topping the list of 180 countries for best quality of air on the planet, according to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2016 report, the island destination has attracted many Chinese visitors through a focused marketing campaign.