Seychelles Tourism plans the way forward

Aimed at assessing the state of business, evaluating the marketing strategies used, and to plan the way forward for the year, Seychelles held its Tourism Board meeting this week.

The Seychelles Tourism Board reviewed what has been achieved in the year 2015, the progress and development of the organization, and the tourism industry in general.

Held at the Kempinski Seychelles Resort, the marketing meeting was attended by the island’s Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange; Principal Secretary for Tourism Anne, Lafortune; Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken, and the Deputy Chief Executive, Nathalie Didon; Chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, Sybille Cardon; and that of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Marco Francis.

Others present were the board members of the Seychelles Tourism Board as well as management and staff of the organization, Principal Secretary of the Seychelles Tourism Academy Flavien Joubert, as well as representatives of airlines, destination management companies, tourism establishments, and other key partners of the industry.

The marketing meeting was scheduled to be held in December last year, but was postponed due to the Presidential elections.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Miss Naiken said Seychelles is at an important crossroad in the development of its tourism industry, adding that 2015 has been the year where Seychelles has witnessed its tourism industry rebounding significantly, and surpassed the 250,000 visitors mark.

“Throughout 2015, monthly arrivals have surpassed that of the last four years, with France in the lead, reaching near to 38,000 visitors. The strong dominance of our European markets is so evident to have driven the double-digit growth in arrivals,” she said.

“This is led by a 14% and 10% increase in French and Italian tourists respectively, and although no growth in the German market, it remains our second largest market,” she added.

Miss Naiken said there has been consolidation work done in the emerging markets of United Arab Emirates and India, and as for China, a higher growth is expected as there is now a weekly nonstop direct service to its capital Beijing, thanks to the national airline, Air Seychelles.

“We have observed that the peaks in arrivals also coincide with the three main events – being the Easter holiday, the Carnaval International de Victoria, and the Festival Kreol, which prove the fact that the events-based marketing strategy is today working,” she said.

For this year, Miss Naiken said efforts will be to keep focusing on awareness and education programs aimed at both the consumers and trade. “It is important to be more visible so as to create more demand. We intend to stimulate more consumer interest through our public relations efforts with strong media and publicity plans to support this initiative. We aim to achieve greater visibility through our online platforms and use our online strategies to stimulate demand,” she added.

Miss Naiken also spoke about the small home-grown establishments which she said play a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the country. She said the strategies to be used will target segments of the market who are willing to experience these kinds of products.

She concluded by thanking all partners who have supported the Seychelles Tourism Board throughout the year 2015, the staff of the organization, the departments of tourism and culture, as well as Minister St.Ange for his guidance.

On his part, Minister St.Ange congratulated the Seychelles Tourism Board and the private sector for being able to work together as a team, enabling Seychelles to enjoy a good year for its tourism industry.

He called on both the public and private sectors to always keep in mind that there is only one tourism industry for Seychelles, and it is vital that at all times that the country comes out as the winner.

“It is our spirit of togetherness which has enabled us to overcome challenges, and as long as we remain united to work for this industry, it will be a successful year,” the Minister said.

Minister St.Ange added that the government remains the facilitators for the Seychelles tourism industry, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture remains the office to these facilitators, while the Seychelles Tourism Board is the partner for keeping Seychelles visible.

He said the successes of the tourism industry is the result of the government and the private sector working together, giving example of the multi-sectorial meeting which was held only last Friday.

Speaking on the vitality of training the island’s workforce and the returning graduates from Shannon College of Ireland, Minister St.Ange said the private sector needs to ensure that the returning graduates are employed.

“We invest in management-level training, but the private sector has to employ these young people who have graduated from hospitality management courses,” Minister St.Ange said before adding that hotels cannot be seeking work permits when qualified young Seychellois sit looking for employment. The Minister also spoke about the need for the industry to change to embrace the sustainable tourism drive, and he assured everyone adopting the Seychelles Tourism Sustainable Label program that they will be given adequate added visibility by the Tourism Board at each tourism trade fair and workshops in which Seychelles is present.

Following the official opening ceremony, there were presentations by the various managers of the Seychelles Tourism Board’s overseas offices, where they gave an overview of their markets’ successes, challenges, strategies used, and of their plans for this year.

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) . For more information on Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange, click here.