Seychelles Represented at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Virtual ATM

The Seychelles Islands did not miss a chance for representation at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) virtual taking place from June 1st to 3rd, 2020.

The destination, through the participation of Mrs. Sherin Francis, Chief Executive of Seychelles Tourism Board featured in a webinar hosted by Destination of the World News’ Editor-in-Chief, Mrs. Emily Baxter-Priest.

The Webinar which also featured Mr. Adel Mardini, Founder & CEO of Jetex and Mr. Michael Marshall, CCO of Minor Hotels, which will be made available until June 5, 2020 on the ATM Virtual platforms.

Impacted by the worldwide Covid-19 situation, the Middle Eastern Travel Trade Show reinvented itself and invited tourism partners and organisations to join the ATM Virtual hosted digitally and featuring a series of webinars, conference sessions, roundtables, speed networking, and one-to-one meetings.

The Webinar titled ‘The Changing Face of Luxury Family Travel’ aims at providing insight into what travel and tourism would look like in a post Covid-19 world, with industry insight into the new landscape of luxury family travel.

Speaking of the ATM Virtual session Mrs. Francis stated that the participation of the destination on the webinar platform has been a great opportunity for the destination to reposition itself on the Middle- East market as an ideal holiday destination to be considered due to the proximity to the region and the advantages of being an isolated destination.

She further stated the discussion is timely in view of new travel trends that shows the high net worth individual segment of travellers will rebound faster and it is something that the Seychelles tourism board has already predicted.

As, the destination re-opened its airport on June 1, 2020, given there are still a lot of travel restrictions in place, exclusive kind of clientele is an obvious segment and hence during the first phase on the ease of travel restrictions much attention will be on this segment.

“Having a good understanding on what travellers are looking for in this new situation is very important as this will enable us to guide our partners. We know that the segment, which would pick up first and faster is definitely the luxury segment. As we follow the guidance of the Public Health Authority in regards to admission of visitors from ‘low risk’ countries, during these earlier months, our targets are definitely towards people with the means to travel by private jets or even chartered passenger flights as it limits the risks of infection. These also includes visitors who are looking at a new kind of experience such as all-inclusive resorts, reconnecting with nature in private villa or facilities or a yacht, all of which are definitely more of the kind of niches we are pushing for the moment for obvious reasons, that is until the country is a bit more flexible with travellers and travel is a bit less restrictive,” said Mrs. Francis.

ATM virtual is hosting various other digital platform meetings and discussions focusing on tourism strategies and can be available on the following link: https://atmvirtual.eventnetworking.com/online-conference

Seychelles lifts COVID-19 travel restrictions gradually as from 1st June

Seychelles has announced a gradual and cautious easing of travel restrictions, which will see the recommencement of travel to the Indian Ocean islands as from 1st June 2020.

A series of guidelines are in force during the month of June and will be reviewed periodically.

The Seychelles health authorities has announced that during the phase one of the re-opening of the Seychelles borders, only travelers from ‘low-risk’ countries arriving through private jets and chartered passenger direct flights will be granted entry.

Travelers with interest to travel will need to apply through a designated application form which will be processed as per Public Health orders. Once approval is given, travelers can proceed with other arrangements, which will include taking a COVID-19 PCR test before boarding the flight.

A series of strict entry screening procedures are also in place for when the passenger disembarks in Seychelles. The Public Health Authority of Seychelles reserves the right to request that the passenger is turned back on the same flight or undergoes further rapid testing.

A US$50 health fee is applicable to cover the necessary screening for each passenger upon arrival.

As of 1st June 2020

  • Application for international flights carrying passengers to be made to Public Health Commissioner (PHC). A standard form (APPLICATION FOR ENTRY INTO SEYCHELLES BY AIR AND SEA) is available on DoH website is to be completed and submitted.
  • Applications will be processed on a case by case basis as per Public Health Order.
  • All passengers must provide proof of accommodation in an approved establishment for the entire period of stay and must show booking vouchers at Immigration on entry.
  • During the month of June, they are not to change accommodation during their stay and must not interact with the community apart from those at their place of residence.
  • In order to minimize interaction between groups of clients arriving on different dates client groups should be segregated within the establishment.
  • For 14 days after arrival the client will be monitored daily by the designated Health and Safety officers or focal person.
  • All clients must ensure strict hygiene measures and physical distancing are enforced.
  • Any illness must be reported immediately to the nearest Health Facility who will provide appropriate guidance.
  • All cost of screening and test will be borne by the passenger.

Types of flights to be allowed:

  • Private jets with passengers destined to authorized resort, yacht or residential facilities.
  • Chartered passenger flights with passengers from low risk countries published by the Department of Health.

Criteria for allowing entry into Seychelles

  • For the month of June, private flights carrying passengers who have been given approval will be permitted.
  • Chartered flights carrying passengers from approved countries may be permitted.
  • All passengers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test that is 48 hours or less prior to boarding the flight to Seychelles.
  • Aircraft/Airline are not to board any passengers or crew who are symptomatic of COVID-19.
  • Any passenger who arrives in Seychelles without this proof will be turned back on the same aircraft.
  • Exit screening must have been completed by all incoming passengers and crew.
  • Entry screening will be done upon arrival starting with completion of the health check form, symptomatic check, temperature scanning. The passenger may be required to undergo a rapid antigen test.

It is very important that clients are properly informed of the measures in place.

A total 19 countries have been identified by the Public Health Authority as low risk (where the epidemic appears to be under control) and they will be able to travel to the archipelago as from 1st June.

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Botswana
  4. China
  5. Croatia
  6. Greece
  7. Hungary
  8. Israel
  9. Japan
  10. Luxembourg
  11. Mauritius
  12. Monaco
  13. Namibia
  14. New Zealand
  15. Norway
  16. Slovakia
  17. Slovenia
  18. Switzerland
  19. Thailand

 

The Public Health Authority in the Seychelles will continue to monitor the situation in the following countries and entry could be considered with effect from mid-July 2020.

  1. Albania
  2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Cyprus
  5. Denmark
  6. Estonia
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. Germany
  10. Ireland
  11. Italy
  12. Latvia
  13. Lithuania
  14. Malta
  15. Netherlands
  16. Serbia
  17. South Korea

 

For more information about the series of guidelines, please visit the Seychelles Department of Tourism website

http://tourism.gov.sc/covid-19-guidelines/

What to Expect when you book a holiday to Seychelles under the New Normal!

The long-awaited date of the re-opening of the airport has arrived in Seychelles and many are those already planning to hit the beautiful sandy beaches and the lush vegetation to escape from the confinement of Covid-19.

Entry into the beautiful destination as of June 1, 2020 will be gradual and subjected to strict conditions imposed by the Public Health Authority.

In order to limit risks for the Seychelles inhabitants, the Seychelles health authority has announced that during the first phase of the reopening of its airport, the destination will only consider visitors from low risks countries travelling through private jets and chartered passenger direct flights.

Visitors are advised that applications will be processed on a case-by-case basis as per Public Health orders.

Information for holidaymakers planning to visit Seychelles is available on the Seychelles Department of Tourism website through the ‘Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines’ issued on May 29, 2020 and reinforce recommendations made by Public Health Authority.

All visitors are required to send their COVID-19 PCR test result to Seychelles Department of Health prior to boarding the plane. They should also have the result to present, upon disembarking on the Seychelles shores, certification by their local health authorities confirming they have taken a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours or less prior to boarding the flight to Seychelles and that the same is negative. Visitors failing to present the required proof will be turned back on the same aircraft.

Visitors are advised that they will be subjected to strict entry screening procedures including completion of the health check form, symptomatic check, temperature scanning. The Public Health Authority also reserves the right to request that visitors undergo a rapid antigen test.

Industry partners including Destination Management Companies, airlines and other partners selling the destination are strongly advised to inform their clients that they must provide proof of accommodation in an approved establishment for the entire period of stay and must show booking vouchers at Immigration desk upon entry.

For ease of control and contact tracing, visitors are encouraged to refrain from changing accommodation during their stay in Seychelles and must not interact with the community apart from those at their place of residence.

The series of guidelines under the ‘Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines’ also contains crucial recommendations for tourism-related business providers in regards to new required measures to be put in place before they are allowed to operate.

All establishments will be visited by the Department of Tourism and the Public Health Authority and must be certified fit to operate prior to re-opening.

As part of the strict measures taken by the authorities to limit a second wave from hitting the destination; a designated Health and Safety officers or focal person will monitor visitors and staff of tourism establishment daily.

Tourism Trade partners are also encouraged to ensure strict hygiene measures and physical distancing are enforced at all times.

Clients owning or intending to rent a yacht, superyacht and leisure fishing vessels in Seychelles may enter Seychelles waters and must clear immigration at port Victoria and receive clearance for any subsequent visit or disembarkation at any site or island from relevant authorities.

The Public Health Authority has advised that the disembarking procedures imposed will reflect the strict measures taken at the airport and considering the risks, permission for any crew or passengers to get off will not be given until the vessel has spent at least 14 days at sea during which time daily temperature check should be submitted to the Port Health office. A COVID-19 test may be requested at the end of the 14 days.

All passengers and crew must have been screened for COVID-19 and have a recent negative PCR test prior to entering Seychelles waters.

Industry partners operating yachting services have been advised that there should be a lapse of at least 48 hours before boarding of new clients to allow thorough cleaning as per guidelines and inspection by authorities.

These guidelines start taking effect as of the beginning of June and will be reviewed periodically by the concerned authorities and updated consequently.

Owners of Private planes, Airlines Company, yacht and other leisure fishing vessels are reminded that they need to clearance from the respective authorities before entering the destination’s waters and its airspace.

For more information-

Seychelles Public Health Authority http://www.health.gov.sc/

Seychelles Department of Tourism http://tourism.gov.sc/downloads/

The Seychelles Tourism Board Welcomes a New Representative for the German Market

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) would like to announce the appointment of Zerbian Business Development, representing Seychelles on the German and Austrian markets effective as of Monday June 1, 2020.

The company is directed by Mr. Christian Zerbian, a German national residing in Frankfurt with over 10 years’ experience in tourism and destination marketing.

The new German representative, with its office based at Roehrborngasse1, in Frankfurt, will be working closely with the STB Team at Headquarters and the Regional Director based in Paris executing marketing activities for and on behalf of STB on the two German-speaking territories.

“With Germany being our lead market, it was important that the work is continued with minimal impact and delay. On behalf of STB boards of directors and the staff and management, I would like to welcome them onboard. We look forward to their contribution and their active involvement with our partners locally and abroad.”

Zerbian Business Development will be representing the Seychelles as a destination for a period of one year.

Contact details:

Christian Zerbian

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: +49 176 62192955

Seychelles Issues New Travel Guidelines in preparations for borders to open in June 2020

The Seychelles Department of Tourism issued its ‘Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines’ preceding the re-opening of its borders scheduled on June 1, 2020.

The guidelines, based on the advice of the Public Health Authority, provides necessary recommendations for tourism related business providers to resume operations in a safe manner while also targeting potential visitors planning to visit the destination.

These series of guidelines, made available to the public through the department’s website, is the stepping-stone for the small island destination to reposition itself on the international market as a responsible holiday destination.

“The guidelines clearly details what needs to be put in place before businesses can welcome guests into their establishments and this includes sanitation and hygiene measures in order to protect locals and visitors,” said the Principal Secretary Mrs. Anne Lafortune at a press conference held by the Ministry for Tourism on Wednesday May 27, 2020.

Mrs. Lafortune further stated that the Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines also specifies the new criteria for assessment under which establishments will be scrutinised before they are certified adequate to operate.

Seychelles Department of Tourism has announced, during the same press conference, that the destination will be reopening its shores to visitors in 2 phases and that all decisions made by the authority will be based on the strict approval of the Public Health Authority.

Phase one of the re-opening of the borders, which will be effective as of June 1, 2020, will include the lift in air travel restrictions on the destination will be subjected to maximum control.

As part of the safety measures being imposed by the destination, it will be compulsory for all visitors entering the Seychelles to take a Covid-19 test 48 hours prior to disembarking on the Pointe Larue International Airport. A health fee of fifty dollars will have to be incurred on grounds to cover further local health procedures imposed by the Public Health Authority as part of the new requirements.

Phase 1 will also limit the movement of visitors around the inner islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. In order to ensure maximum control, all-inclusive resorts and islands resorts will be recommended to visitors as they provide the opportunity to have guests in a self-contained environment while enjoying their holiday in paradise and respecting the social distancing measures.

Speaking about the ‘Seychelles Safety Travel Guidelines’; the Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis stated that the measures are very important for the destination to follow.

“Safety comes first and as a destination we are committed to limit the risks of any eventual infection on our shores for our visitors and our local inhabitants. We are definitely encouraging all our partners to familiarise themselves with the requirements and implement them as we get ready to be start operating under the new normal,” said Mrs. Francis.

She further stated that the new steps taken by the destination adds to the marketing value of the Seychelles and encourages tourism trade partners to use the certificate issued by the department as a Unique Selling Point for their businesses.

“The data collected in our recent researches points that the new travel trends shows people have expressed the desire to reconnect with nature and families. As a destination, we are somehow isolated and have beautiful natural sceneries, which is an excellent marketing opportunity for us, “said Mrs. Francis.

For more information about the guidelines, the public is advised to visit the Department of Tourism website on the fillowing link http://tourism.gov.sc/covid-19-guidelines/

Seychelles Tourism Board Offices easing into the ‘new normal’

Tucked away in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the exotic Seychelles Islands have not been immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just like the rest of the world, the STB Team found their world shaken when WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic.

The team scattered all over the globe woke up to the new reality as few of its members live in major cities fighting the battle relentlessly.

“We are a small team and are often in contact with our colleagues abroad, it might seem strange but sometimes they do not even seem to be that far to us and I think the scariest feeling was knowing they are at risk,” said Elsie Sinon- STB Senior Destination Marketing Executive.

A sentiment, echoed by other team members thinking of their colleagues in the various offices around the world. The Destination marketing section, usually an agitated beehive has suddenly quietened as major projects have been put on hold.

Bustling cities turning into ghost towns speaks volumes about the pressing nature of the pandemic. The fast pace of cities such as Madrid, Rome and Mumbai have drastically come to a standstill, forcing the masses to rearrange their routines and adopt new practices necessary for survival.

Based in Italy- one of the countries most hardly hit by Covid-19-Yasmine Pocetti, STB Marketing Executive shares her emotions seeing deserted landmarks especially the St-Peter’s square during the Easter celebrations in April.

“The atmosphere for the past two months has been almost surreal with empty streets, silence and everybody locked in their houses. My only trip out, once every ten days, for weeks has been to the grocery store to buy food and essentials, a very stressing task as I was very scared to see other people or touch things, the lines and waiting were very long and had to disinfect everything once back home,” says Yasmine.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented situation resulting from it has been a shock for the world. I believe that the way our operations are configured is an advantage for us, the fact that we run mostly online has facilitated the shift from our offices to working from home. The new normal tests your power as a survivor,” says Sherin Francis- STB Chief Executive, commenting on how juggling between work and family life not always an easy task when you are confined into your home with kids.

Mother of two young girls, she says she knows the team members with children are being put to a great test. A statement confirmed by Priya Ghag- STB representative in India who is a mother of one and Monica Gonzalez LLinás, STB Marketing Executive in Spain who has six children at home.

“The big change is the schedule every day as I have 6 children at home, having online school classes. This means waking up early in the mornings, checking emails or pending work. We are extremely lucky living in a house with a private garden while most of the population in Madrid live in flats,” says Monica.

The same story is being heard from parents with young children and teenagers, as you hear the anecdotes of this Covid-19 confinement days.

Bringing about unprecedented change in our lives, the current global situation has not only introduced restrictions but also the opportunity to re-evaluate the way STB functions; on an organisational- use of our online systems more intensively -and personal level- teams feels now closer and stronger.

“Having been at STB almost 5 for years, I have never encountered such quiet times. It is almost as if this time made us realise how our contribution is important,” said Rolira Young, STB Destination Marketing Executive.

“Working from home has definitely forced some of us to accept technology, I have to admit that I now tend to accept technology more with the use of our team collaboration and work management or even virtual meetings,” said Marie-Julie Senior Public Relations Officer at the STB News Bureau.

Many team members have expressed the challenges they face trying to adapt to confinement whilst balancing work and home life to prevent the line between the two from blurring.

The pool of young professionals who do not have a family yet, conquered that being confined at home does alter your usual clock.

“It was a race! Our section’s expertise was in high demand during this time of Covid-19; as a result, we found ourselves extremely busy working on very tight deadlines, analysing data all day and writing report and in many instances, this meant burning the midnight oil. Nevertheless, I am grateful this experience pushed me out of my comfort zone and into facing many fears head on, leading to the generation of new skills and knowledge,” said Jean-François Figaro, Senior Officer from the STB Strategic Planning and Market Intelligence section.

On the same note, Shakambri Soni, STB representative in India, says that the team has been pushing the destination hard on their end. She also mentioned that the most challenging part of working from home in this 'lock-down' situation is the combination of office and housework.

“Due to the abundance of information being shared on all platforms and new things coming up at odd hours of the day, it's challenging to keep a sense of time that divides office and house work. Unlike in offices there is no longer a 'closing time' from work and with an air of urgency and uncertainty in our lives, no work can be left unattended or pushed ahead for the next day. Everything has become important and prioritizing is the biggest challenge now,” said Ms. Soni.

Although everyone has their different time management systems they all agree, discipline is key. Christine Vel based at the STB South African Office strongly confirms her position, “Being confined has not changed much for me, I work on my own and everything is on my laptop. I’ve made sure to keep a good routine of waking up early still and starting work the same time as usual.”

Striving to keep Seychelles visible at every single corner of the world in the new normal situation, from Brazil to Australia through the Middle East, the STB teams are ingeniously making sure that partners and clients are kept abreast with the destination and its features.

While the teams are still working in ways to be visible on media through appearances in specialised magazines and others are maximising on online tools.

“It is important for us to keep in touch with our partners; we take pride in keeping the Seychelles warmth alive amidst these difficult times. Whilst many are acquiring news skills during the lockdown, most of our offices and team members across the globe are adapting to the new era, discovering how to promote the destination from their homes during a time where travel and physical contact are sensitive matters,” says Bernadette Willemin, Regional Director for Europe.

The regular meetings and trainings with trade partners, in line with STB’s mandate to increase the destination’s visibility, have now transformed into webinars since the introduction of social distancing.  

Just like their STB counterparts in France and China, Ahmed Fathallah and his team in the Middle East stated that regular online meetings with partners are essentially aimed at fostering and strengthening their relationship with the travel trade partners.

“Offering options for our partners to keep their clients informed is crucial in these difficult times. People are holding on to the dreams of visiting beautiful destinations like Seychelles once Covid-19 is behind us,” added Ahmed.

The STB Brazilian team headed by Gisele Abrahao are also actively marketing Seychelles on online platforms.

“We are all working from home for the past 2 months and everything is actually working very well. We are focusing on bringing positivity to our market by highlighting the beauty of Seychelles.

The team has invited and went liv with 3 influencers and have 4 more planned for the next couple of days on Seychelles,” says Gisele.

The lack of movement and freedom, two essential aspects of human nature, have forced us to re-evaluate how STB functions and operates, developing creative means of communicating and marketing.

Director for Digital Marketing, Chris Matombe and his team were in high demand as although the STB offices worldwide were compelled to close their doors to the public, the various teams are still working behind the scenes. As human interaction decreased across the globe, the STB has adapted by intensifying their focus towards digital platforms to create awareness about the tropical paradise.

“Interestingly it was business as usual for us. It has been an opportunity for our department to shed light on the power of digital marketing,” says Chris.

Additionally, through online campaigns, the team has been showcasing the alluring beauty of the islands; from the lush, tropical rainforests and exotic wildlife to the sandy shores and turquoise waters. These illustrations create a window of escapism during a period of crisis where confinement has made it impossible to travel, whilst sensitising potential visitors about the Seychelles and its unique features.

The absence of tourists is a ‘foreign sight’ to most Seychellois as the archipelago has been welcoming tourists to their shores for many decades. As a result of these effects, the STB Head Office on the main island of Mahé in the Seychelles, has made several changes in their operations; having to cancel future events and focus on a strategy for the future.

“We will not forget this experience anytime soon for sure as it has proved that our creativity has no limit wherever we are! We have definitely enjoyed the flexibility. This time has been used wisely to rekindle the flames with our creativity,” said Eileen Hoareau, Graphics designer from the Print and Production section.

Altering the way we function and communicate, the Covid-19 pandemic has also reminded us of the importance of living the life we fantasize about and making the most of the moment. Standing alongside the rest of humanity during this critical time, the STB Team continuously reminds us that the world will be back on its feet again and when it does, paradise will be waiting to welcome all who have been dreaming of it.