Ethiopian Airlines touched down yesterday in the Seychelles islands with 19 young Chinese couples who have chosen to get married in Seychelles and to enjoy a honeymoon in the same destination as did the British Prince William and his new bride Kate Middleton.
The young Chinese couples, together with 32 media houses coming from China, 12 high dignitaries, and a group of potential Chinese investors, experienced firsthand the Seychelles charm with a tailor-made welcoming ceremony by the Seychelles Tourism Board and Mason’s Travel. It was Mason’s Travel which coordinated this wedding party’s itinerary on the islands.
As Ethiopian Airlines made its descent at Seychelles International Airport, a red banner scripted ”Welcome to Seychelles” in Chinese set the rhythm for the welcoming ceremony driven by the traditional sound of Seychelles local music and dancers from the “ZEZ” band.
First off the plane was the Chairman of the Sino-Seychelles cultural organization, Mr. Cui Yongan, and he was followed by the Chinese couples who were warmly welcomed by the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Ambassador to the Republic of China, Mr. Philippe Le Gall, the Chinese Ambassador in Seychelles, Mr. Shi Zhongjun, and the General Manager of Mason’s Travel, Mr. Eddie d’Offay.
The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture described the Chinese arrival to Seychelles as symbolic.
“Today marks an important event for the tourism industry. Firstly, Seychelles has witnessed the arrival of the largest group of 19 Chinese couples ready to take their wedding vows together and in the one go in our country. They have converged to Seychelles with reputed media houses from China, and they are accompanied by investors. This visit by 82 Chinese nationals will contribute to increase Seychelles visibility on the Chinese market. The high Chinese delegation comes at an opportune time when Air Seychelles, the Seychelles national airline, has confirmed its plans and has already announced its intention to expand its international operations in January 2013 with 3 weekly flights to Beijing in China. This decision by Air Seychelles will help consolidate our islands’ presence on the Chinese market. Secondly, in the coming 2 weeks, Seychelles will play host to an important group of Chinese tour operators. The biggest outbound tour operators, who are already committed to marketing Seychelles as the NEW tourism destination for the Chinese holidaymakers, will be traveling to Seychelles for meetings with the Tourism Board, Air Seychelles, and will have an opportunity to meet our DMCs as they are showcased our beautiful country. This, we feel, is the way to go to ensure that Seychelles can receive its fair share of that important market,” said Minister Alain St.Ange, the island’s Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.
The General Manager of Mason’s Travel, Eddie D’offay, said that for the past years, Mason’s Travel has been working jointly with its Chinese representatives to evaluate the potential of this emerging market.
“Europe has evolved as a main market for weddings in Seychelles with an increasing number of couples who have chosen this destination for their marriage vows. We’ve realized that the time to diversify is now, and that by tapping into the Chinese market, Seychelles can attract a new clientele. In January 2011, Mason’s Travel brought to Seychelles its first Chinese couple to be wed at the Banyan Tree Resort Seychelles. This has triggered the interest of more Chinese couples to our shores. South Korea is another market on which Mason’s Travel wedding portfolio is slowing gaining ground. The South Korean market has shown signs of interest in Seychelles as the getaway for marriage and honeymoons,” Mr. D’Offay of Mason’s Travel said.
The Chinese couples will spend 5 days in Seychelles to live the Seychelles experience. The 82 Chinese nationals, on this special visit to Seychelles, has been made possible by one of China’s highly-reputed companies, Quiangsheng, whose Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Yue Zong Chao, also flew to Seychelles for this special tropical wedding ceremony.