Savouring the Seychelles Islands in Beijing, China

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) together with the Embassy of the Republic of Seychelles in China launched a Seychelles Creole culinary experience in Beijing China earlier in November 2019 aimed at promoting gastronomy tourism in the destination.

The project, in line with STB’s strategy to market the destination provided a platform for the participants to immerse themselves into the Seychellois culture and heritage through a culinary voyage.

Representing the Seychelles at the event were, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs. Anne Lafortune, Ms, Vivanne Fock Tave; Seychelles Resident Ambassador in Beijing and the STB Director for China, Mr. Jean-Luc Lai-Lam who showcased the different flavours and colours of what the island nation’s culinary delights have to offer.  

The different travel agents and media present at the event were able to join in and learn how to prepare a few authentic Creole dishes and understand the origins and history of the Seychelles cuisine.

During the session, the Chinese guests also traced the history of the Seychelles gastronomy to the Chinese cuisine as one of the five main branches of the Seychelles cuisine through the country’s Chinese cultural heritage.

The guests were delighted to hear that the Chinese culture has also contributed vastly to the Seychelles Creole culture and history. During the presentation, Mr. Lai Lam, STB representative on the Chinese market explained that extending beyond cuisine; the Seychelles Creole vocabulary has also adopted many different Chinese words that have created the Creole language. 

He provided examples of words such as “Siao” meaning soya sauce coming from the Chinese Cantonese language “Si jau (豉油)”, “Chowmin” meaning stir-fried noodles coming from the Chinese Mandarin language “Chaomian (炒面)”.  

Commenting on her mission in China for the promotion of Seychelles, Mrs. Anne Lafortune mentioned the Seychelles rich cultural heritage and stated how valuable it is for the destination.

“Food tourism becomes one of the defining characteristic of a region or nation’s identity. Seychelles is a proud melting pot of five major cultures and ethnicities. These include Chinese, Indian, African, French and British. Seychelles Creole cuisine is also strongly influenced by those ethnic food cultures.

For all businesses linked to gastronomy, culture and tourism, this couldn’t be a better opportunity for those wanting to move forward, gain greater visibility and attract more customers,” said Mrs. Lafortune.

On his part, Mr. Lai Lam mentioned that gastronomic tourists are not only interested in the food they are enjoying, which must be locally sourced of course, but also want to know more about its history, its production and its journey to the palate, pointing out the clear example of this is the growing success of wine tourism.

“Gastronomy tourism and in effect culture tourism have become the leading hook in travel, with authenticity being the most important drive in consumer behavior today. This interactive culinary event could serve up our nation’s rich culinary heritage, vibrant food culture and celebrated local delights,” added Mr. Lai-Lam.

Seychelles represented at a Corporate Travel Planners Roadshow in Abu Dhabi

Maximising its exposure in the Middle East, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) participated in a Corporate Travel Planners Roadshow held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

The roadshow, which took place on November 20, 2019 was organised by dnata Abu Dhabi with the objective of connecting the corporate travel bookers to the key service facilitators.

The event saw the participation of over 90 key travel planners/bookers from dnata’s prestigious corporate account and 20 exhibitors providing various travel services including airlines, hotel chains and tourism boards. This involved the STB featuring Seychelles as a versatile destination of choice in the Indian Ocean.

The Corporate Travel Planner Roadshow attracted mainly frequent travellers from the corporate world such as travel managers, procurement managers and travel officers all keen to keep abreast with the services available on the market.

The destination was represented by Ms. Aliette Esther, Tourism Attaché based in Abu Dhabi, and was assisted in promoting the Seychelles in the roadshow by Cerf Island Resort representative Mrs. Foram Varsani.  Both were working in unison to provide information about the destination. Mrs. Varsani also used the opportunity to explain about the facilities and activities available to potential clients at the Cerf Island Resort.  

Commenting on the STB’s participation at the event Ms. Esther explained that it falls in line with STB’s strategy for visibility as well as educating its partners.

 ‘It is important to be constantly on the road to promote the destination especially in this day and age where the competition is tough. It is important also to keep managing our relationship vis-à-vis our travel trades partners and update their knowledge of our destination. This can be achieved by reminding partners that Seychelles is a versatile destination, which also includes services for the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segments,” said Ms. Esther. 

 “I had a fruitful visit to Abu Dhabi to attend two events which took place on 20th & 21st November. I am pleasantly surprised to see the marketing & awareness, which is done by STB  as I found great number of corporate and tourism establishments interested in the destination.

I am very grateful for all the help and support I received during my visit from Aliette to draw more business to our shores.” Mrs Foram Varsani said.

‘At the moment, the UAE is the 5th biggest market for the Seychelles.’ Ms Esther said. ‘Roadshows such as this one will certainly help in getting the UAE to climb a notch higher on the ladder.  At the end of the day, the more visitors we get, whether it be from the UAE or any other parts of the world, the ultimate benefactors are the Seychellois people.  In the process, we will be sharing some of the beauty and culture of our islands with the visitors. It is a win-win situation all around. We look forward to participating in similar events in the future.’

According to the latest Knight Frank’s 2018 City Wealth Index, Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the GCC.

Ms. Esther further mentioned that the affluence in Abu Dhabi and the regular daily flights availability -3 times a day from the two UAE hubs (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), a 4-hour flying time make the city an excellent place to market the destination. 

With the five-day long National Day holiday coming up at the end of November early December, the roadshow was well timed and Ms. Esther and Mrs. Varsani at the STB and Cerf Island Resort were kept busy answering questions about attractions and activities on the islands of Seychelles.

Top selling Agents of Emirates Holidays visit Seychelles on a FAM trip

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) through its office in Dubai, in partnership with Emirates Holidays and with the support of local partners in Seychelles organized a familiarization (FAM) trip to the paradise destination for top travel agents across Dubai.

The visit was organised in line with the STB strategy to increase Seychelles’ visibility through the education of its close partners.

As part of their visit in the destination, the small group of agents were given the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the beauty of the islands, partaking in activities such as touring of the capital, Victoria and its cultural landmarks, ziplinging and cruising the islands.

During their visit, the Dubai agents received a warm Seychellois welcome from the various hotel partners including Constance Ephelia, Four Seasons Resort, Constance Lemuria, Hilton Northolme Resort, Raffles Seychelles, Kempinski Resort Seychelles, Banyan Tree Resort, andAvani Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa and were able to familiarize themselves with the products and services offered by these establishments.

The Account manager for STB office in Dubai, Mr. Ahmed Fathallah commented on the FAM trip, stating “The entire experience enhanced their knowledge to better promote and sell the destination and they can impart their personal experience to their clients, which can help them entice travelers to visit the beautiful Seychelles. We will definitely be working on having more FAM Trips in the future as incentive to the hardest working agents. These FAM Trips serves not only as a motivation but as well as an educational experience to provide edge and added knowledge about the destination.”

Prior to the FAM trip, Emirates Holidays ran a campaign among their agents – the top sellers of Seychelles will get the chance to win a place on a FAM trip to the destination.

Compared to the previous year, market performance in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has seen positive increases; the UAE to 22%, Kuwait to 14%, and Saudi Arabia to 18%, making the region increasingly significant to the Seychelles.


Seychelles’ Ecological Commitment Commended in the UK News

Making the most of their presence in London for the World Travel Market (WTM),Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Mr. Didier Dogley and Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive Mrs. Sherin Francis met with several key media specialists earlier in November.

The press meetings aimed at urging the UK and other countries to join the fight against climate change, focused on raising the alarms about the various effect of the global warming; particularly the vulnerability of destinations such as the small island nation are facing with the rising water levels.

Seychelles, 115-islands archipelago state, is a pioneer in the Indian Ocean and the world through its continuous actions in reinforcing its national policies for conservation.

As pioneers, the Seychelles continually takes steps towards cementing its national climate change policy, meaning that the targeted 30% consensus of protecting the sea will be met 10 years earlier than scheduled, according to both the Minister and the STB Chief Executive.

During a live interview with BBC Africa, Minister Dogley, a former Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change explained the impacts of climate change on the lives of the Seychellois people. He further commented on how his environmentally conscious    home nation is a model for sustainable tourism with its array of unique sites.

Minister Dogley further revealed that in such a world where unspoiled natural land and seascapes are becoming a rare asset, it was a real pleasure to see European countries and destinations, including China and India, getting on board with the movement.

In previous interviews, it has been stated by the Minister that Seychellois people have no choice but to sustain and maintain their environmental standards, out of sheer necessity.

Spreading a similar message, Mrs. Sherin Francis, recounts driving through inundated roads, on the East coast of Mahé, in order to get to work.

Mrs. Francis was interviewed across the 7th - 8th of November by the BBC (World News and Wildlife), as well as Sky News, Arise News and City Metric. Her message was clear: ‘Be our ambassadors when you leave the Seychelles, and spread the word about climate change’.

Speaking candidly, the Chief Executive also stated that the shared vision between the government and STB, and the actions taken to iron out climate issues, has promoted an eco-warrior mentality across the generations.

Some of the more talked about achievements discussed by Mrs. Francis included the ban of single use plastics, which came into effect in 2018, and the campaign aimed at reaching out to potential holidaymakers.

With Britain being the fourth largest European incoming market, after Germany, France and Italy, visitors are encouraged to join in on beach clean ups, wildlife tagging or planting coral.


Seychelles to celebrate the Wonders of the Ocean through its Ocean Festival

A series of activities have been organised to commemorate this year’s Seychelles Ocean Festival (SOF) by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and its various partners.

The event, which promotes marine-based tourism in the island archipelago, is to be held from Friday November 22, 2019 to Sunday November 24, 2019 and will be celebrated through a plethora of education and fun activities throughout the weekend.

In line with the STB marketing strategy, which includes promoting Seychelles as one of pioneers of conservation in the region, the SOF is a prime event for the destination as it provides a platform STB to sensitize the local population about the role and importance of the marine world for Seychelles as a destination.

The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley launched this year’s edition of the SOFon Friday November 22, 2019 at Eden Blue in a small ceremony, which regrouped various environment and tourism stakeholders all present for the good cause.

Speaking at the launch of the festivities Mrs. Sherin Francis STB Chief Executive commented on the commitment of the various partners in making the event a success.

“It is our civic duty to protect our environment for our future generation and for our planet. As a small country, we are extremely affected by global warming and because of that, our destination is threatened. Our promise of paradise to our potential visitors is mainly dependent on our ocean; this is why we put such emphasis on creating awareness around its conservation. It is very encouraging to see the dedication of our young people for our environment through their response to our call for collaboration,” said Mrs. Francis.

She also commended the various partners including the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change, the Ministry of Education, the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), the National Sports Council and the various NGO’s who have actively participated in the preparations of the events.

The festivities will be closed on Sunday November 24, 2019 at Beau-Vallon with a beach clean-up, a yoga session and a family fun day on the programme. Several competitions– volleyball, football, amongst others are also on the activities for the day.

The SOF remains an important feature in Seychelles’ calendar of events and a key platform for highlighting the many attributes of Seychelles’ marine scene and all that it offers to visitors and locals alike.

Seychelles Tourism Board joined by Turkish Airlines and Luxury Cruising Company – Crystal Cruises, promote Seychelles in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) in collaboration with its partners Turkish Airlines and Luxury Cruising Company – Crystal Cruises, organized a “Seychelles Promotional Dinner” event for some 85 tourism professionals in the city of Los Angeles, California, USA.

The event, which was centered on the destination, its attractions and the various available products and services, took place at the Taix French Restaurant in October 2019.

As part of the evening, the 85 tourism professionals present enjoyed an extensive destination presentation by Mr. David Germain, STB Regional Director for Africa and the Americas, as he showcased the pristine beaches, lush flora including the various Islands to be visited.

The two partners to the events Crystal Cruises and Turkish Airlines also conducted presentations about their products and services associated with Seychelles.

Crystal Cruises Company- a Luxury Cruising Company headquartered in Los Angeles- presented to the Los Angeles participants its upcoming project in the archipelago. The “Crystal Esprit”, a Luxury vessel will be positioned in Seychelles for 3 months, between January, February and March 2020, offering an all-inclusive eight-day program in the Seychelles for potential clients.

Turkish Airlines, on its part presented the daily flights offers from North America to its central hub, Istanbul, with easy connections to Seychelles as the airline also operates daily flights to the archipelago from their hub.

The participants were also given a varied taste of what their clients can expect from a luxury Seychelles holiday and it included information about ground-handling services, to Cruises and flight schedules.

Speaking about the initiative to have such an important outreach in the North American market, the STB Regional Director for Africa and the Americas mentioned that the event was organized with the objective of raising the destination’s profile further in the North American region.

“Collaboration is key as we endeavor to grow the Seychelles’ tourism market share in North America, and on the entire continent. I am very satisfied with the outcome of the event and satisfied as well with North America’s continued performance as a tourism market for Seychelles,” said Mr. Germain

As part of the publicity operations on the Northern American territory, a media lunch event was also organized in Beverley Hills, at the popular Fig & Olive Famous French Restaurant during the same month.

Nine journalists from some of the main publications in the Beverley Hills region attended the event. They were treated to video presentations about the Seychelles islands highlighting the products and services available, as well as the unique attractions of the archipelago.

The Seychelles Tourism Board is a member of APTA, the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa, and as well as a member of USTOA, the United States Tour Operator Association.