Seychelles’ Third Tourism Festival to be celebrated this September 2020

The third Festival themed ‘Tourism: Back with Confidence’ has been announced in a press briefing held at the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Conference room at Botanical House by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Didier Dogley this Monday September 7, 2020.


The press brief, conducted in the presence of Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune and other members of the Tourism Festival Committee, presented the calendar of events organised to mark the annual tourism week in Seychelles.


The activities selected to commemorate this year’s Tourism Festival, which will be carried out from September 27, 2020 to September 29, 2020 will feature the most important events on the traditional calendar.


Correspondingly launched during the press briefing at Botanical, the F&B Masters Seychelles, the highlight of this third tourism festival - food and beverage competition- initiated by the Tourism Festival Committee chaired by Minister Dogley.


The calendar will also include a spiritual celebration, the honouring of the local tourism pioneers and a panel discussion conferring on the optimistic restart of tourism activities on the destination.

 
As part of the activities this year the calendar will see the launch of a national centralised tourism platform showcasing the local product listings across 12 categories initiated by Seychelles Tourism Board.


For this year’s edition, will be focused on building the confidence of our stakeholders in our local tourism industry besides raising awareness on the value and contribution of tourism as the main pillar of our economy.


Speaking about this year’s tourism festival, Minister Dogley informed the press that although the celebrations will be contained they would not be deprived of importance.


“This tourism festival could not have come at a more opportune time for our industry. As we continue to consolidate our efforts to relaunch our tourism industry and build on the progress we have made since we re-opened our international airport to commercial flights and foreign visitors we need to continue reminding ourselves of the importance of welcoming and providing our visitors with our unique creole hospitality while respecting the sanitary guidelines and procedures,” said Minister Dogley.


Minister Dogley explained that objective of this year’s organising committee is elevating Seychelles’ profile as a safe tourism destination.
On her part, the Principal Secretary for Tourism Mrs Anne Lafortune explained that the department felt it was important to keep the observance as previous years to uplift the morale of the local industry partners and workers.


The annual Tourism Week in Seychelles is an extension of the annual World Tourism Day celebrated on September 27 and initiated by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Wedding Bells in the Seychelles Islands

The flames of romance are still ablaze in the enchanting Seychelles Islands, where some 97 couples have walked down the aisle since August 1, 2020, and many others seeking the perfect occasion to tie the knot as tourism restarts in the destination.


Following the reopening of their International Airport, the destination has started to see its wedding market come back to life.


Whilst stranded in the tropical paradise, two couples, according to Registrar for Marriage from the Seychelles Department of Immigration and Civil Status, got married in June. Moreover, with the reopening of the airport, 7 weddings took place on Praslin and 90 destination weddings took place Mahé, Silhouette and Enchanted Island since August. Couples from all corners of the world still have their hearts set on Seychelles as their wedding location with many enquiries being made daily.


With romance ever-present in the air, the local authorities and trade are ensuring that no stone is left unturned when it comes to safety. Wedding service specialists and the related service providers of the islands are currently operating under new safety frameworks required under the new normal.


The destination’s pristine beaches, with its pearly white sand and turquoise waters, have proven to be a very popular location for weddings. Keeping this in mind, procedures have been put into place to ensure lovers can still have an intimate service whilst being kept safe. Minimum contact is to be made between wedding organisers and their clients through measures such as social distancing, use of disposable biodegradable items wherever applicable, no sharing of items and constant use of disinfectant and sanitation processes.


Additionally, the islands also have a reputation for their stunningly lavish hotels, which are also prominent wedding locations. Although ‘room weddings’ are not permitted, for the time being, the various certified hotels have various open areas, equally as exquisite as the ballrooms, available for couples to choose from. Clients will have to abide by the hotel’s health and safety regulations, which are reinforced by the Public Health Authority and the Department of Tourism. Similar to beach weddings, measures such as social distancing, sanitisation processes and proper disposal of used items have been put in place to ensure the safety of clients during their ceremony.


The encouraging numbers of weddings in the destination proves that it remains one of the most distinguished wedding destinations, still captivating the hearts of lovers across the globe.


With the world shrouded in chaos and uncertainty, the need to celebrate love and romance has deepened. What location could be ideal to start your lives together than the islands rumoured to be home to the Garden of Eden, where all life began.

The Luxurious Allure of Seychelles Reflected in Visitor’s Arrival Numbers

The Luxurious Allure of Seychelles Reflected in Visitor’s Arrival Numbers

The resumption of tourism is off to a good start for the tropical paradise of the Seychelles Islands once again as the destination opened their International airport for chartered and private flights in June 2020 and reopened to scheduled flights on August 1, 2020. 

Hidden in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the tropical islands has made a name for itself amongst travellers even before the global pandemic. 

Speaking to the national broadcaster Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation about the tourism performance since January, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis stated that by the end of March the country had recorded around 88,000 visitors, which confirmed the predictions of the 3-4% increase made at the beginning of 2020. 

On the way to a slow yet steady recovery from the impact of the worldwide situation, the destination has seen 2,359 visitors from June to August 23, according to the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Although the destination has always welcomed a wide variety of tourists, one of its popular segments remain luxury travellers, which were predicted to rebound fasterduring this period. 

In July alone, the islands welcomed 475 visitors through chartered private flights with 87% from UAE, followed by Russia with 4% and 3% from the UK. 

With the return of scheduled flights from 1st to 23rd August 2020, the country recorded 1,754visitors arriving to its shores. According to the NBS figures there were a total number of 1,040 passengers from scheduled flights, and the number of passengers from private flights were 714. There were in total 41 private planes landing in Seychelles for that same period. 

Although the figures may seem smaller compared to the same period for 2019, with a recorded drop of 63% in comparison to the same period, the small but constant amount of visitors arriving is a great step in building the confidence of global travellers and also shows that safe travel is possible. It also illustrates that Seychelles remains in the minds and hearts of many tourists. To date, 91,402 visitors have travelled to the islands for the year 2020.

The STB Chief Executive further explained that throughout the various surveys conducted by the Market Intelligence team of the STB, the trends and growing travel segment being witnessed was expected.

“Given the current global situation, the numbers are very encouraging. This shows that our communications are reaching its intended target. We hope that as restrictions are relaxed and should the global situation not worsen, that the arrivals figures will improve,” said Mrs Francis.

 

Mrs Francis further mentions that the tourism board has been continuously advocating safe tourism, a strategy which Seychelles adopted for the restart of tourism

 

Seychelles is renowned for its very niche type of market, remaining a favourite amongst both luxury and nature travellers with its secluded location and ample activities centred on the destination's pristine features. Mass tourism is not something that is being promoted.

 

In fact, the allure of the destination has been magnified with the increased desire of travellers to escape and reconnect with their loved ones and with nature. The islands’ lush rainforests, turquoise waters, vibrant fauna and remarkable landscape manages to capture all who disembarks on its shores. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seychelles joins the Rebuilding Travel conversation with travel specialist Juergen Steinmetz.

The global virtual event, which is part of the Rebuilding Travel movement, was held on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, and attended by tourism professionals from across the globe. The discussions held via the zoom network was focused on the restart of tourism in Seychelles and hosted by Juergen Steinmetz.


The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Didier Dogley, Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA) chairperson, Mrs Sybille Cardon and Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis represented the key stakeholders in the local industry.


During the discussions, Minister Dogley, provided a brief overview of the how the destination is handling the restart of tourism since June 1, 2020, when the country opened its borders for private jets and private charters to August 1, 2020, when the first commercial flight landed at the Seychelles international airport of Pointe Larue.


He further commented on the efforts made by the industry to implement the new safety guidelines endorsed by the Department of Health as part of the new operational procedures for the tourism industry.


Additionally, Minister Dogley highlighted the importance of sharing the Seychelles’ experience with regional destinations and even other islands. “For me sharing and partnering with other islands states is excellent because as far as COVID is concerned, it has taught us that we need to work together to share experiences and knowledge as we go along so that we can identify the bright spots and also how we can overcome the challenges COVID has put in our way.”


Mrs Francis, STB Chief Executive reiterated the destination’s commitment towards Safe Tourism. She explained that the safety guidelines put in place in Seychelles reflects the efforts of the industry to rebuild the confidence of potential visitors.


“Advocating for safe tourism is the best way we can help our industry now; this is why the STB is urging other destinations and other partners including airlines to have mandatory testing policies amongst their operational procedures. Based on the trends we have seen developing our team has judged it essential for the destination to work towards the creation of a safe bubble for its survival,” said Mrs Francis.


On her part, Mrs Sybille Cardon commented on the indispensable assistance provided by the Tourism related businesses from the private sector.


Talking about the future of Seychelles’ tourism industry, Mrs Francis emphasised on the tourism board’s marketing strategy to increase the visibility of the destination through digital marketing and constant engaging of trade partners around the world through virtual platforms.


Mrs Francis reassured the participants of the webinar of the authenticity of the Seychelles experience in the face of the new normal. Although they will now have to adhere to new measures under the guidance of the concerned authorities, visitors will still be able to fully immerse themselves in the offerings of the lush, tropical sanctuary of the Seychelles Islands.

 

Seychelles Tourism Board and Visa sign Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate the growth of Seychelles Tourism

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote Seychelles as a destination of choice for tourists around the world.

 

The MOU is aimed at enabling the tourism board to strengthen its marketing strategy globally through the promotion of electronic payments technology and services in Seychelles.

 

The signing of the agreement, a significant step in the longstanding relationship between STB and Visa is a testimony to the Board’s continuous endeavour to explore the most effective ways to market the destination. 

 

The MOU will support STB’s strategy of adopting a much more targeted approach when communicating with potential visitors and provide valuable feedback to local stakeholders including the Central Bank of Seychelles, which reports on tourism earnings in Seychelles. 

 

As part of its engagement towards the MOU with Visa, the STB has made a commitment to continue to encourage local establishments to adopt electronic payments in line with the National Fintech Strategy of Seychelles. 

 

Mrs Sherin Francis, STB Chief Executive, recognised the great opportunity that this agreement will provide to the tourism industry in Seychelles in terms of accurate client’s information regarding trends and preferences. 

 

“It is vital that our local establishments, regardless of size, look towards being able to accept electronic payments as this will facilitate transactions for our visitors. This is also in line with the government of Seychelles call to citizens to embrace electronic payments to avoid unnecessary contact with cash as the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic," said Mrs Francis. 

 

Visa’s mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. 

 

Visa’s Vice President for Government Engagement in Central Europe, Middle East and East Africa, Mr Salvador Galindo Perez said, “While the ongoing pandemic has caused significant upheaval in the global travel and tourism industry, we must recognize that we should be prepared to support the needs of consumers when things improve. We have seen that there is an increased demand for contactless and digital payments not just from a seamless payment perspective, but also because of the safety and hygiene factors they represent. We also know that accepting digital payment is beneficial to local merchants as visitors do spend more when they don’t have to only rely on cash. As Visa has always been a strong partner of the travel and tourism industry, we are looking forward to sharing our expertise in the hope that together we can support the local tourism economy in their recovery efforts, alongside providing inbound and local tourists with secure, faster and more convenient ways to pay.”

 

Seychelles boasts lush tropical vegetation, powder-white beaches and clear turquoise waters, the Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago off the east coast of the African continent well known for its paradise-like features. With tourism as the main pillar of its economy, the new partnership will complement the STB’s efforts in fine-tuning its targeted marketing strategies. 

 

With the restart of tourism in Seychelles, the local stakeholders on the island are determined to make travel safe and seamless for all while retaining the Creole charm visitors desire. 

 

Seychelles launches Safe Tourism Certification label for industry service providers

Walking the talk of safe tourism for the destination, the tourism taskforce has developed a consortium-based certification system to ensure ‘safe’ experience for visitors while on holiday in Seychelles. 

The specially designed stamp, immediately recognisable by the green-ticked badge, will allow guests to recognise businesses in Seychelles, which have adopted the health and hygiene standardised protocols set by the local public health authority. 

The safe tourism certificates, which are being issued by the Department of Tourism and endorsed by the Public Health Authority, provides the seal of approval for service providers for operation.

Mrs Anne Lafortune, Principal Secretary for Tourism pointed out that the certification is an important component of the operations of the industry providers today. 

“Our local businesses have been very forthcoming in helping us implement the new sanitary regulations the industry will have to abide by for operations. We are satisfied to see their interest to comply with this new component of tourism," said PS. Lafortune.

The requirements for certification, meticulously discussed by the representatives of the tourism industry, incorporates strict sanitary norms requested by the local public health authority and important industry etiquette compulsory for operations under the ‘new normal’.

The certification assures visitors and guests that local service providers operating within the tourism industry and other related businesses are providing the best possible practices to ensure their comfort and safety. 

Speaking about the safety certification label, MrsSherin Francis Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive Officer mentioned that the certification label is founded on the significant elements people are looking for before making plans to travel. 

 

“Safety has become an even more important prerequisite for travel. As a destination restarting its tourism industry, our responsibilities vis-à-vis our guests and local service providers are immense. We have been advocating for standard practices to be adopted across the globe and we are proud to see the implementations of these practices locally,” said Mrs Francis. 

Visitors planning on a holiday in Seychelles are encouraged to book their accommodation and leisure activities through safe tourism certified service providers.

To date, 204 accommodation establishments have been certified under the Safe Tourism Certification label; service providers including restaurants, tour operators, tour guides, and transportation providers will be able to use the stamp once the health and hygiene requirements defined by Public Health Authority have been implemented.