A new record year for the three German-speaking countries was no reason for STB’s Frankfurt office to rest on their laurels.
A new record year for the three German-speaking countries was no reason for STB’s Frankfurt office to rest on their laurels. With their sights firmly set on a promising 2017 travel season, they launched the New Year with a triple assault in all three countries, celebrating the opening of new nonstop flights from Germany and Austria and presenting the Seychelles as partner country at the debut of a freshly revamped travel show in Switzerland.
In the wake of a spectacular show-stopping presentation of the 2016 CMT fair in Stuttgart, the Seychelles returned in 2017 to pick up where they left off last year. With 235,000 visitors and 2,052 exhibitors, the traditional opening fair of the tourism year and the world’s largest consumer fair for tourism and recreation again reported an excellent turnout. The fairgrounds were fully booked and very crowded over the entire nine-day run, which was bookended, as always, by two weekends. As a survey showed, about a quarter of the visitors had even traveled more than 100 km to this fair in the affluent Southwest of Germany.
An astounding 95% of the visitors indicated their intention to return next year (when CMT will be celebrating their 50th anniversary), and the exhibitors gave the visitors high ratings as well, praising them for being well informed and prepared. The Seychelles, who have been attending the fair for many years, proved as popular as always. The Seychelles Tourism Board was joined at their stand by trade partners SeyVillas and VPM Bestsail.
Pictured above from left to right: for STB: Roya Fadai and Edith Hunzinger; for SeyVillas: Mira Schermann, Gessica Stella, Jelena Jovanović, and Sina Vargas Madrid; for VPM Bestsail: Daniel Barone and Jonathan Löffel. Below: Press conference on the eve of the fair (13 January 2017).
While CMT was still underway, it was time for a short (250 km) hop south across the border to St. Gallen in the northeastern part of Switzerland, close to borders with Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein. The Grenzenlos (“borderless”) tourism fair was held here for the first time under this new name and with a brand-new concept. It ran for three days on the third weekend in January, attracting 31,000 visitors and 414 exhibitors to its 27,000 square-meter fairgrounds and five exhibition halls. One of the main attractions was certainly the fact that it featured the Seychelles as „Gastland“ (“guest country”). The Seychelles not only showed up with their impressive stand, which featured a large display case with cocos de mer, but also provided visitors with lively entertainment by Latroup Nasyonal and a taste of the Seychelles’ equally vivid colors and artistry, presented by renowned painter Egbert Marday.
Top and below right: Latroup Nasyonal performed both on stage and at the stand, entertaining young and old with music and dance from the Seychelles — a welcome touch of tropical warmth in the frosty cold of Switzerland in mid-January, much appreciated by the visitors.
Top left and below: Visitors attending the premiere installment of the Grenzenlos fair were eager to pick up information on the Seychelles, the official “guest country” of the show, which had been advertised on enormous posters (above center) throughout the city of St. Gallen.
STB was joined at the stand (in hall 3.1) by representatives of five trade partners: Hilton Seychelles (Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa, Doubletree by Hilton Allamanda Resort & Spa), JA Resorts & Hotels, Le Duc de Praslin/La Digue Island Lodge/Valmer Resort, Let's go Tours, and VPM Bestsail.
Pictured above from left to right, standing: Jonathan Löffel, Bernd Löffel (VPM Bestsail); Roya Fadai (STB Frankfurt); Britta Krug (Hilton Seychelles); Sandra Werner (Let’s go Tours); Patty Waldmann (JA Resorts & Hotels); Edith Hunzinger (STB Frankfurt); on the far right: Maria Morel (STB Senior Marketing Executive), Egbert Marday (artist); kneeling: Christian Wicki (Let’s go Tours); Derek Savy (Le Duc de Praslin/La Digue Island Lodge/Valmer Resort); plus Latroup Nasyonal: Marietta Matombe (Manager), Nataniel Volcere, Margaret Vel, Johnny Volcere, Dereck Louise, Camille Azemia, Jose Thelermond, Darius Samson, Chanel Kilindo.
In their initial reactions, the trade partners were pleased with the interest shown by the visitors, and tour operators reported inquiries and bookings, even from outside the fair, apparently generated by the publicity.
The management of Olma-Messen St. Gallen, the organizer of the Grenzenlos fair, was presented with gift boxes sponsored by the Takamaka Bay rum distillery. Pictured from left to right: Maria Morel, Edith Hunzinger, Rolf Brun (department head, trade fairs, Olma-Messen), Caroline Derungs (fair management), Nicolo Paganini (general manager).
STB regional manager Edith Hunzinger gave numerous interviews to Swiss media, including one with Patric Kees (left) for TVO, a TV broadcaster for Eastern Switzerland. The video was shown repeatedly throughout the run of the fair and can be retrieved for catch-up here on the broadcaster’s website. The interview on the right — for travelnews.ch — can can be viewed here on YouTube.
Nicolas Roeg’s 1986 movie Castaway, based on Lucy Irvine’s autobiographical novel and shot almost entirely in the Seychelles some 30 years ago, was replicated — in a way — with a radio contest: Listeners battled each other in knockout rounds since December, and the winners — one man and one woman, but total strangers — picked by an audience vote from a list of finalists: Sabrina (24) from Näfels and Daniel (31) from St. Gallen. They would spend a week together in the Seychelles, staying in one double room, sponsored by Hilton Hotels (3 night at Northolme and 3 nights at Labriz).
The contest entitled „Zwei Fremde — eine Reise“ (“two strangers — one trip”) ran on FM1 TODAY, a popular Swiss radio station. The winners only met at the Zurich airport. They got along fine during the week, even though they quickly discovered that they were totally different personalities. There was no romantic involvement, however, and the two decided each night who was going to sleep in the bed and who was going to sleep on a couch or on the balcony. They did discover love, though: they both fell in love with the Seychelles.
The trip was covered extensively — before, during, and after — on radio and on the station’s website. A TV report on the trip can be seen here.
Following the Grenzenlos fair in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, Regional Manager Edith Hunzinger proceeded to Geneva in Romandy, the French-speaking section of the country, to attend a «Soirée Seychelles» on Tuesday, the 24th of January, hosted by tour operator AdGentes for 20 of their best-selling travel agencies.
Coming up in February:
On Sunday, 05 February 2017, WDR Television, a major public broadcaster, will broadcast a 90 minute Seychelles exclusive feature in its “docutainment” travel series, Wunderschön (“simply beautiful”) in prime time at 20:15 hrs, hosted by Tamina Kallert. The program was shot in October 2016 on the islands.
The program will be re-broadcast the following Sunday, and it will be available in full on WDR’s website („Mediathek“) for catch-up viewing for at least a year.