Message from Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive

The world as we know has taken a challenging turn on 30 January 2020, when the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

We anticipated that we would be affected as a destination but even more so as individuals, we were concerned for our families, friends, acquaintances, business partners all over the world.

The past few weeks, we have witnessed the spreading of an aggressive virus that has proven difficult for the medical corps around the world to understand and manage. Our thoughts go to everyone around the world as we are all affected by this crisis.

Over the past few weeks, I believe people have realized that the tourism industry is a very fragile one; everything that happens locally and internationally can affects the industry we all depend on as a country.

It is a sad moment for us to see the industry we cherish be brought to its knees; borders closing, airlines and cruise companies shutting their operations, hotel partners announcing reduction of their activities.

The fast evolution of the situation makes it very difficult at this point for us as the Tourism Board to estimate and analyse the impact and damage to the industry and much less to plan the recovery of our industry. These sad days is fuelling our motivation as a Tourism Board to work harder to make sure that our industry now critically incapacitated shines again when brighter days will come.

We are currently working on various plans to bring Seychelles Tourism to a new dawn basing ourselves on a short-term and a long-term plan.

Our short-term plan would be on the assumption that the situation does not deteriorate. If people are required to stay in confinement at home or if there is a countrywide fear, we will have to wait for these to pass before it can be executed.

Since at STB, we believe there are positive things that come out of everything even from crisis as this one, we now have the possibility to shift our marketing efforts locally and provide some supports to partners who are willing to tap into the staycation segment. We are looking forward to this new challenge!!!

On the long run, our recovery plan to get back on our feet as a destination after this crisis will depend on six major things including:

 

  1. The status of COVID 19 in Seychelles does not deteriorate,
  2. When and how fast Seychelles re-open its border to the European,
  3. When and how fast we will be able to re-establish flights with our main European markets
  4. The ability for our tourism services to get back on its feet
  5. The propensity for travel given we know the world has entered into a global recession
  6. Last but not least how much marketing funds we have available to re-launch ourselves in our main markets.

 

Above all, for our plan to work, we will need your continued support.

 

I would like to commend all STB staff for their dedication in this time of need. A special thought to the frontline staff at the Seychelles International Airport, at the Praslin Airport, the La Digue Jetty and also all staff stationed in the four corners of the world.

 

I am grateful to the industry partners, as most of them have responded positively in all instances when contacted by our teams. This has reassured us in showing that they have our industry at heart and are dedicated towards its wellbeing.

 

My message to the industry and our partners is to remain strong in these trying times, encourage travellers to postpone and not cancel their travel. To all of our travellers, I am urging you to postpone your travel, stay home and travel later. Remember we are all in this together.

 

The Seychelles showcased in Jeddah Intl. Travel & Tourism Exhibition

Strengthening the destination’s presence in the GCC market, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) showcased the tropical paradise in the 10th edition of the Jeddah Intl. Travel & Tourism Exhibition (JTTX10).

Beautiful pristine Seychelles was featured in one of the leading travel event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA), which unites a diverse range of destinations and travel industry services.

The platform provided an ideal opportunity for the destination to be visible in the KSA by meeting new partners and reinforcing the existing relationship with the local trade.

Fulfilling the STB’s mandate of increasing the destination’s visibility, through the presence of the STB representative in Dubai, Mr. Ahmed Fathallah, amplified awareness of the island’s renowned beauty and its offerings to both consumers and exhibitors present.

The event also allowed STB to update the travel trade on the country’s recent tourism developments.

Expressing his satisfaction at the outcome of the event, Mr. Fathallah said “We are exhilarated at the outcome of the JTTX10 as we are once again able to further inform the attendees, promote the destination, and strengthen our relationship with some of our trade partners here in Jeddah. Their positive reception and support to Seychelles continues to inspire our team to continue on working harder and do whatever we can for our trade partners and for those in the region that wishes to experience the islands of Seychelles.”

With a 17.49% increase in total visitor arrivals from 2018 to 2019, and January 2020 visitor arrivals rising over twice the number compared to the same month of last year; the destination’s presence in the KSA, one of the country’s main markets in the region, is crucial.

Seychelles Tourism Board brings paradise to the 2020 New York Times Travel Show

On its mission to charm North American visitors, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) took part in the New York Times Travel Show from Friday February 24 to Sunday February 26, 2020 at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in New York City.

The Travel Show united over 175 countries including Seychelles under one roof where cultural and destination knowledge was passed on to over 35,000 attendees inlcuding tourism professionals and holidaymakers.

Taking full advantage of media, travel trade and consumer presence during the exhibition, Mr David Germain, the STB Regional Director for Africa and the Americas, met up with these key industry players of the North American Market.

These included the press and airlines such as Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, whose North American agents will be hosted in the Seychelles for a familiarisation trip in the coming months.

The show’s global platform ideally gave STB the opportunity to perform its mandate of increasing the destination’s visibility and awareness of its offerings to the North American Market. Especially with greater accessibility to the destination through Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Emphasising on the importance of the country’s participation, Mr Germain said “ this is the 7th time that the Seychelles participated at the New York Times Travel Show, an exhibition which brings together important African Travel Specialists in search of product and destination information about Africa and the Indian ocean islands. It is important to be present to consistently promote our islands in North America”.

The Seychelles dedicated stand visibly portrayed the exotic flora and fauna of the islands as well as its turquoise waters and vibrant marine life, catching the eyes of many visitors.

The STB staff present at the stand provided support and assitance to the travel trade to sell the destination on their end whilst enticing customers to experience the island life for themselves.

Visitors were captivated by the diverse activities of the tropical paradise; from diving with exquisite sea creatures and water sports to culinary experiences and discovering the creole culture through the arts.

The STB continuously increases the destination’s presence through participation in such travel fairs and conducting workshops for local travel and tourism partners in this market.

Seychelles Tourism Board strengthens MICE ties in Meetings Arabia and Luxury Travel Congress

In attendance in the region’s largest platform for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition (MICE), the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) alongside 7° South, a specialist Destinations Management Company from Seychelles, joins in the Meetings Arabia and Luxury Travel (MALT) Congress, where the islands showcased its potential as a destination for business and luxury travel.

The MALT Congress, held in the gorgeous Rixos Premium JBR Hotel in Dubai, was a 2-day event comprised of talks, panels, and various opportunities for buyers and destinations representatives to connect and establish business relationships.

Representing the destination at the event, the STB representative in Dubai, Mr. Ahmed Fathallah, and Mrs. Janet Rampal, Assistant Groups & Incentive Reservations Manager of 7° South, took the opportunity to meet with various clients in order to enlighten them about the Seychelles.

Presenting the islands as an ideal destination with direct air connectivity and only 4 hours away from the Middle- East regions for business meetings and luxury travel, the team actively promoted the destination to various potential prominent buyers and organisations in the region.

During the meetings, discussions centered on MICE, key trends, sustainability and the many disruptors of business and luxury travel in the region, providing more insights on how to handle the Middle Eastern market. A striking point mentioned during the discussion according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is that the Middle East is one of the smallest, yet fastest growing regions in the world, with outbound travel quadrupling in the last 20 years.

“Seychelles is a very popular romantic destination among this market and so over the years, it became somewhat of a ‘myth’ that the islands are just for honeymooners or weddings, albeit, it really is a great romantic destination – but we are here to share with our trade partners that Seychelles is a great destination even for MICE and business travel. There are plenty of properties in Seychelles that cater to this market and we will continue to strengthen our partnerships with the region’s MICE experts,” mentioned Mr. Fathallah.

The MALT Congress awarded a certificate of recognition to the STB for their support to the 8th Annual MALT Congress.

Quest in the Seychelles

Words around the Island of Mahé spread like wild fire last week as English journalist and CNN International Anchor Richard Quest was spotted on the Islands.

Warmly welcomed by the tropical Seychelles atmosphere and the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Staff, Mr Richard Quest began his mission of discovering the essence of the utopia on Thursday February 20, 2020.

Placing the archipelago in the global spotlight, CNN’s renowned anchor and international business correspondent, along with his crew, filmed segments for his shows “Quest’s World of Wonder” and “Quest Means Business”.

In true creole hospitality, the STB assisted Mr. Quest and his crew during his stay by accompanying the team on their journey and facilitating logistics. Mr. Quest was also received by the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine; Mr Didier Dogley, Principal Secretary of Tourism; Mrs Anne Lafortune’ Chief Executive of the STB; Mrs Sherin Francis and Deputy Chief Executive Ms Jenifer Sinon.

In his “Quest’s World of Wonder”, the team were captivated by Mahé’s rich history, the Eden of Praslin’s Vallee de Mai, the towering boulder of La Digue and the exotic wildlife of Bird Island.

Delving deep into the roots of the Creole community in Seychelles, the team also had the chance to meet many locals around the islands and discovered the soul of the Seychelles through its people and culture.

Mr Quest also learned more about the country’s efforts in the battle to preserve the pristine paradise through sustainability and eco-friendly solutions, and the national pride of being a pioneer in the conservation community.

Commenting on his visit, Mr Quest said, “Seychelles is an extraordinary place with a melting pot of people and incredible nature.”

Speaking about the visit of Mr. Quest, Mrs Sherin Francis STB chief Executive mentioned that the destination visibility would definitely be given a boost.  

“As the tourism board we have are at several interval extended invitation to Mr Quest to visit Seychelles. We are happy that finally Seychelles will feature in his travel show. The show is widely watched worldwide and I am sure it will generate immense visibility for the destination and that is why we did not hesitate to extend our support since the day the planning of the visit started. We would like to thank all the partners who have been very cooperative throughout his visit and for the appreciation the public have shown towards him. He has sure left the country with very fond memories,” said Mrs. Francis.

Spotlight Africa Workshop, good debute for Seychelles in the African market

Seychelles featured at the Spotlight Africa workshop in Lusaka, Zambia at the Radisson Blu Hotel on February 12, 2020 through another successful partnership between the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and Houston Travel Marketing Services.

The event, which kicked off on the evening of February 11, with a networking cocktail at the Latitude 15 Hotel provided an ideal informal setting for the STB team to meet with some 40 top senior executives of Travel Agencies and several major local Tour Operators, updating them with the destination’s latest development.

Throughout the networking event, the destination’s representative Senior Marketing Executive, Mrs. Natacha Servina and Marketing Executive, Ms. Ingride Laurencine had the opportunity to establish networks and cultivate interest for the destination.

The one-day workshop saw the participation of over 20 companies where the STB team seized the opportunity to bring forward Seychelles as a must-see paradise destination, close to the Zambian market.

Intensifying their marketing strategy during the event, the team included one-on-one meetings with participants, allowing them to divulge significant destination information to many of the tour operators and travel agents present at the workshop.

As part of the event, the participants were engaged in an exciting raffle draw where they had the opportunity to win a variety of prizes including flights, accommodation, safaris and other interesting goodies.

Commenting on the event, the STB Team expressed their satisfaction at the turnout of over 110 attendees from 66 different travel and tourism companies.

“Our continuous presence at the Spotlight is because of the reputation we had created for ourselves on the Zambian market. We are currently working on increasing the visibility of our beautiful islands in that part of the world as Lusaka is a rapidly growing commercial centre, with a large expat community presence and the Zambian economy is currently thriving. We remain a dream destination for many people in the region as they are becoming more aware of the destination’s accessibility. Our focus remains on increasing the country’s visibility in the African region,” said Mrs. Servina.

The STB team shared a taste of the Seychelles with the participants through the sublime gift of a Takamaka Rum Chest, which included two bottles of the renowned rum made locally in the Seychelles Islands and Ms Lisa from Mukwa Travel and Tours won the prize.