Seychelles is set to end 2019 with an increase in visitor arrival figures of 3%. “This is good news” is the comment echoed by Alain St.Ange, the former Tourism Minister of Seychelles. “Our islands will again experience a good tourism year is indeed good news, but expectations are higher and the need for a buoyant tourism industry needed more than ever before.”
Seychelles has been consistently recording impressive growth in tourism, certainly since 2009 when Seychelles moved to reorganize the Seychelles Tourism Board that led to the creation of a Ministry of Tourism once again after an absence of a Tourism Minister for many years.
ATC News, the Aviation, Travel and Conservation News from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands on December 21 wrote:
“SLOWER GROWTH IN NUMBERS BUT HIGHER GROWTH IN EARNINGS MAKE 2018 ANOTHER GOOD YEAR FOR THE SEYCHELLES
With less than two weeks to go, and the most busy season of the year just opening up ahead of the Festive Season, has Seychelles’ tourism industry reason to celebrate once again.
According to data received from the National Bureau of Statistics there has been 2% increase in visitor’s arrival compared to the same period in 2017 with 325,628 arrivals so far compared to 320,132 last year.
Notably has Switzerland replaced India among the six top best performing markets during 2018.
Arrivals by country of origin of tourist visitors, for the top six markets, were:
Germany – 53,127
France – 40,806
UK/N. Ireland – 24,369
UAE – 23,259
Italy – 22,547
Switzerland – 12,081
The advance of German over French visitors has been largely blamed on the lackluster performance of French airlines JOON which had in collusion with Seychelles government departments pushed Air Seychelles off the route – to only recently announce that their flights will now only be seasonal and not year-round.
Germany subsequently remains the main tourist source market for the Seychelles now with a 16% market share and having replaced France as the archipelago’s leading source market for many years.
Data seen also suggests that there has been a decline in the number of visitors from some important markets such as China, Russia and South Africa.
On the upside though, even though the increase in visitor number has slowed down from previous double digit rises year on year, has the Central Bank of Seychelles reported an increase in the tourism earnings for the current years. Consolidated figures released show a 5.1 million USD equivalent tourism related income or in local currency 7.1 billion Seychelles Rupees. In 2017 the comparable tourism earnings were 4.4 million USD equivalent to 5.9 billion Seychelles Rupees. These data suggest that visitors spent more on a per capita basis than last year, rooted in higher accommodation tariffs and greater spending on location,” said ACT News.
The most current data from the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) shows that the work by their Marketing Department in collaboration with the island’s private sector is paying dividends. That performance was marked by a growth over each quarter of 2018. Overall Seychelles will end the year with a total visitor arrivals increase of 3%. It is not a bad show but is it enough when one assesses the dependency of Seychelles on tourism.
The Seychelles performance is in step with the growth in global international travel, which the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) published was the strongest result in seven years. According to the UNWTO, international tourist arrivals climbed to 1,323 million in 2017 — an increase of 6.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
Seychelles is known to offer diversity in product from the very high quality to visitors to the Seychellois ‘Home Grown’ block of accommodation network where the Seychellois culture and feeling is the center point. The wide range of 5 Star Resorts, the One Island – One Hotel group, the smaller island styled hotels, attractions and activities enables Seychelles to be a destination for the discerning travelers looking for a tropical island for their holidays. This diversity on offer has made it easier to deliver on visitor expectations, visitor experiences, and put into perspective the question of value for money.
Seychelles as a whole has agreed that tourism is the industry worth protecting and that it should take into consideration the fact that year after year income for the island from tourism keeps the Seychelles economy floating nicely. This is over and above the employment positions available to Seychellois. Too often it is heard that each and every family in Seychelles has someone employed in the tourism industry or has invested directly into the tourism industry. This is why every responsible Seychellois must support this vital industry and ensure the National Assembly of the islands ensures adequate funding is available for the continued marketing of Seychelles.
The people of the islands on their part have to ensure that Seychelles’ tag line as a safe tourism destination is protected and safeguarded. Seychelles is one of the safest destinations in the world and this we need to ensure we remain so. But we also must double our efforts in ensuring mare is available for our visitors to do. They cannot spend and increase the island’s yield from the industry that has become the pillar of its economy if they do not have things to do. This is why innovations by Destination Management Companies (DMCs) is important and why the Tourism Board must ensure each service provider is well publicized so that visitors are tempted to move out of their hotels to have a better experience of the sights and sounds of the Seychelles.