This reassuring statement was made by Ms Julie Kim, the Regional Manager for Korea and Japan after participation in the JATA Habitaku Travel Showcase 2013, from the 12-15th September 2013. “I expect growth of the Japanese market for Seychelles will synergies the growth of the other Asian’s market.” She further continued.
The delegation which was headed by Ms Sherin Naiken, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, also saw the participation of the Seychelles Honorary Consul General in South Korea, Mr. Dong Chang Jeong, the Seychelles Tourism Board Regional Manager for Asia & Australasia, Mr. Jean Luc Lai Lam as well as members of the tourism trade, namely; Ms. Jessica Giroux, Sales Manager from Masons Travel, Mrs. Blaisila Hoffman, Marketing Manager and Ms. Setsuko Suzuki, the Japanese representative both from the Creole Travel Services. Members of the delegation participated in several side meetings other than the fair, which included meetings with several major tour operators and travel agencies to market Seychelles as a new destination for the Japanese market.
The various international business meetings and media meetings which spanned over 2 days also focused on segmenting the present Seychelles products by introducing specific niches to the Japanese market namely: weddings and honeymoons, health fitness event such as Marathon and diving & fishing. The Seychelles Tourism Board also seized the opportunity to meet with specific airline partners that connect Japan to the Seychelles so as to build stronger partnership and further strengthen mutual cooperation.
The last 2 days which were the main days of the travel fair focused on members of the general public. Japan has a population of 130 million people of which their outbound travel only for last year was at 18.49 million.
The Seychelles Tourism Board has expressed satisfaction at the outcome of their participation in the fair.
Ms. Naiken shared “We are very much convinced after participation in the fair that the Japanese tourism market is very promising for Seychelles. We already have the products for a category of their travelers which are wedding, honeymoon as well as diving, fishing and fitness event. With the increase in air accessibility-Seychelles may be as close as 12 hours flight time from Japan”
Encouraged by the outcome of the fair, for next year the Seychelles Tourism Board intends to increase its awareness and education on the market by holding press conferences and agent workshops/seminars to raise the profile in the region and provide training for the local trade. It is also in their plans to later consider organizing educational & media familiarization trips for the main agents and tour operators in Japan to bridge the knowledge gap on the destination.
JATA Travel Showcase is the largest and oldest Consumer & Trade Fair in Japan. The number of booths in the exhibition hall in TABIHAKU 2013 has reached 1,353, up from 1,093 last year, the highest ever. Total 730 exhibitors are participating in the travel show compared to 708 last year, representing some 154 countries, down from 156 in 2012.