The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) organised its end of year marketing meeting last week aimed at informing the representatives of the tourism trade on the various developments taking place on the key markets.
The meeting is also known to be a perfect platform to discuss strategies being developed for the year 2017 with the Seychelles private sector trade partners.
Attending the opening ceremony held at the Eden Bleu hotel were the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Alain St.Ange, principal secretary for tourism Anne Lafortune and for civil aviation, ports and marine Garry Albert, STB’s chief executive Sherin Francis and the deputy chief executive Jenifer Sinon, managers of the tourism offices abroad, staff of STB as well as representatives of both the public and private sectors.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs Francis said it has been a good year for the tourism industry as Seychelles’ key markets such as France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and other middle eastern countries have performed well.
” We have also seen growth in other European markets such as Spain and Switzerland. India has also performed well,” she said.
STB is committed to work with the trade to keep improving on areas where Seychelles has great potential, she added.
Mrs Francis said with Air Seychelles’ expansion plans on the Düsseldorf, Paris and Durban, we see potential to grow not only in those cities but the countries and the regions.
She also spoke about the new additions – Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways ane Sri Lankan Airlines and their benefits to our tourism industry as well the existing supporting airlines such as Etihad Airways, Emirates, Condor, Air Austral, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.
She thanked the members of the tourism trade for their support in helping to grow the markets and together help to deliver for Seychelles and its tourism industry.
Mrs Francis also said a few words on the Chinese market. She said it is in STB’s plans to conduct a survey to establish the facts on spending patterns of our Chinese visitors.
In his address, Minister St.Ange echoed words of thanks to the STB staff in Seychelles and those working abroad for their hard work.
“If Seychelles’ tourism industry is succeeding it is because you have worked hard and partnered with the private sector to ensure that this success resonates around the world.”
We know it is not easy for people who are not in the tourism industry to appreciate how difficult to make it work. For you to bring tourists, we need to get to the source markets, Minister St.Ange said.
“Often people see tourism as being a hotel, but this is far from reality as everything in Seychelles touches tourism. We need to appreciate that for us to better understand tourism and its real value, we need to know what it is that we have does not involve or touch tourism.”
Minister St.Ange also spoke about the public – private sector partnership which he added does work for the country and pushes the country to understand itself better.
“We appreciate that the visibility that has been achieved through this partnership at every trade fair or event in key tourism source markets have helped our island’s tourism industry.”
The security and safety label of Seychelles and the use of social media were also main points which Minister St.Ange spoke about.
Minister St.Ange concluded his speech by speaking about the yield from the Seychelles tourism industry.
“Yield is what tourists spend in Seychelles, but yield is generated on what our visitors can find to spend on. If we do not have arts and crafts, excursions, and activities, tourists will have less to spend on” the Minister responsible for Tourism said.
He added that every hotel knows that they compete not with Seychelles but they do with other islands and countries in the region. This he said they keep in mind when pitching their own respective hotel rates.
“As a country we need to help encourage sales when people are in Seychelles and help the yield to increase. We must forget this perception that yield is only what we make out of hotels. It is everything together that will help Seychelles progress.” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
The meeting was also an opportunity for the Tourism Board’s managers of the overseas offices to present the marketing strategies used in 2016 as well as their markets’ achievements and the challenges faced. They also briefed those attending the meeting on their plans for next year. Seychelles is currently enjoying a 10% increase in visitor arrival numbers and this after closing 2015 with a 19% increase over the previous year.