The new travel season in Germany takes off traditionally with the world’s largest public consumer fair for travel and leisure, CMT (Caravanning, Motoring, and Tourism), which opened its gates this weekend at the Stuttgart fairgrounds. More than a quarter of a million visitors are expected, and this year, they are in for a special treat: With the Seychelles as the show’s official partner country, they will be greeted by the sounds, sights, and scents of these mid-ocean paradise islands on special stages and a larger-than-ever Seychelles stand.
Latroup Nasyonal from the Seychelles performed at the official opening ceremony of the fair on Saturday morning, and Ms. Anne Lafortune (Principal Secretary for Culture and Tourism), Ms. Sherin Naiken (CEO STB), Ms. Bernadette Willemin (Director Europe STB), Ms. Edith Hunzinger (Regional Manager for Germany, Switzerland, and Austria), and Mr. Manoj Papa (CEO, Air Seychelles) presented the Seychelles to the local media at a dedicated press conference on Saturday afternoon.
With about 2,000 exhibitors from nearly a hundred different countries and approximately 250,000 visitors (241,000 last year), CMT presents holiday ideas, travel destinations from around the globe, and novelties in camping and caravanning, along with a colorful entertainment program. The nine-day fair, which runs from January 17-25 and thus includes 2 full weekends, is the longest of its kind in Germany.
The Seychelles has a 144m² stand (8 m × 18 m), which the Seychelles Tourism Board shares with several trade partners. Presentations for consumers will be held twice a day and at specific locations on the fairgrounds, and there will also be a Seychelles workshop for the trade. Throughout the fair, Latroup Nasyonal will continue their performances on stage and at the stand. In addition, artists Camille Mondon and Egbert Marday will present their works and working methods and interact with visitors.
Stuttgart, with a population of just under 600,000, is the sixth-largest city in Germany and the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in the southwest corner of the country, bordering France in the west and Switzerland in the south. The city where the automobile was invented by Benz and Daimler is also the home of world-renowned automakers Mercedes and Porsche and the equally-famous Bosch, the world’s largest supplier of automotive components, but also famous for power tools and home appliances.
Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who was being represented in Stuttgart in Germany by Anne Lafortune, his PS for Tourism, said that Germany is now the biggest source market for Seychelles. In 2014, Seychelles was for the first time the partner country for the Hamburg Tourism Fair which saw the Seychelles Minister chairing the tourism fair’s official press conference. Visitor arrivals in Seychelles from Germany have since been on the increase partly due to the increased visibility of these islands from the Hamburg Tourism Fair. Seychelles is also served by a direct non-stop air service by CONDOR of Germany. “As we start 2105, we have decided to launch the Seychelles tourism season at another German tourism fair. Seychelles is today in vogue in Germany, and we need to continue to work with our partner tour operators to keep our visitor arrival numbers growing,” said Minister Alain St.Ange.
Tourism continues to be the pillar of the Seychelles economy.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .