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Seychelles ranked No.1 at The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013

  • Published by Vedat

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 has ranked Seychelles Number One in African Travel and Tourism Competitiveness and Number 38 in the world.

Seychelles-fromboatThis report assesses 140 economies worldwide under the theme “Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation”. The assessment is on the extent to which these economies are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector.

The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index writes:- The Sub-Saharan Africa Table 7 shows the results for the sub-Saharan region which sees the Seychelles entering the rankings for the first time at the top of the region, and 38th overall. The importance of Travel & Tourism for the country’s economy is reflected in its top ranking for the prioritization of the industry, with the 2nd highest T&T expenditure–to-GDP ratio in the world and effective marketing and branding campaigns. These efforts are reinforced by a strong national affinity for Travel & Tourism (5th); good tourism infrastructure, especially in terms of available hotel rooms (6th); and good ground and air transport infrastructures, particularly by regional standards (31st and 27th, respectively). These positive attributes somewhat make up for its relative lack of price competitiveness (120th). Although the natural environment is now assessed as being in good condition, efforts to develop the industry in a sustainable way could be reinforced, for example by increasing marine and terrestrial protection, which would help to protect the many threatened species in the country (132nd). Mauritius loses its number one spot in the regional rankings, overtaken by the entry of the Seychelles this year, and is ranked 58th overall.

The Mauritius ‘Le Mauricien Newspaper’ of the 7th March on its part carried this latest world report with a title Tourism, Mauritius loses its place as the No.1 in the Indian Ocean. Le Mauricien writes: The Seychelles were recognised for their efforts in ‘Marketing and Branding Campaigns’ when compared to Mauritius which dropped 5 places to 58th for 2012 / 2013 on the world stage.

The newspaper states that Mauritius has lost to the Seychelles its place as the No 1 in tourism of the region Indian Ocean and Sub Saharan. On the World ranking by the World Economic Forum Mauritius is now ranked 58th whereas the Seychelles is seen at the comfortable position of 38th. Which is 20 places ahead of Mauritius.

The Mauritius newspaper in its assessment of the report just published states that Mauritius dropped five places when compared to the 2011 World Ranking when two years ago the Seychelles was not even rated in this hit-parade of World Tourism. This world report is based on different specific parameters from Travel & Tourism Expenditure to GDP Ratio to Marketing & Branding Campaigns without forgetting the category on security of visitors and applicable rates.

« Mauritius loses its number one spot in the regional rankings, overtaken by the entry of the Seychelles this year, and is ranked 58th overall. However, the country has seen its price competitiveness decline significantly (ranked 75th, down from 18th in the last assessment) — primarily the result of increasing hotel and fuel prices and high ticket taxes and airport charges. Additionally, in terms of challenges, the country’s environmental sustainability has received a weakened assessment, of particular concern given the importance of the natural environment for the country’s leisure tourism », the World Economic Forum brings out in its assessment.

« Seychelles has benefited during the last couple of years from efforts approved by the authorities « The importance of Travel & Tourism for the country’s economy is reflected in its top ranking for the prioritization of the industry, with the 2nd highest Tourism &Travel expenditure–to-GDP ratio in the world and effective marketing and branding campaigns. These efforts are reinforced by a strong national affinity for Travel & Tourism (5th) ; good tourism infrastructure, especially in terms of available hotel rooms (6th) ; and good ground and air transport infrastructures, particularly by regional standards (31st and 27th, respectively) », says the World Economic Forum.

The 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) reveals that Switzerland tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report for the fourth consecutive year. Singapore remains in second position with Finland, in third position, overtaking Sweden 4th). These and other Northern and Western European countries dominate the top 10 with the Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom respectively ranked 5th, 6th and 8th. The United States (7th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th) complete the top 10. The Report emphasizes persisting competitiveness divides across and within regions, as short-termism and political deadlock continue to hold back the economic performance of many countries and regions. Looking forward, productivity improvements and private sector investment will be key to improving global economies at a time of heightened uncertainty about the global economic outlook.

The report explores how, on one hand, the travel and tourism industry has the potential to boost economic resilience and job creation but, on the other, a number of factors continue to hinder its development.

This report has been welcomed by Seychelles where many are saying that the transformation of the island’s tourism industry started when President James Michel personally took over the tourism portfolio in his Government and appointed Alain St.Ange, the local hotel & tourism professional to head Seychelles Tourism as Director of Marketing before promoting him to the position of CEO of the Tourism Board. This is the period when a total re-launch of Seychelles tourism was effected and it was during this period that President James Michel of the Seychelles launched his Seychelles Brand of Tourism to get more Seychellois islanders involved in their island’s tourism industry. President Michel also moved Seychelles marketing away from just sun, sea and sand to be more events based with culture as the base to help consolidate the island’s tourism industry.

It was in March last year that President James Michel of the Seychelles moved to make tourism a standalone Ministry of his Government when he appointed Alain St.Ange as the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.

Since then Seychelles has been noticed as never before. Minister Alain St.Ange has taken a leadership role and recognised as being one of the main drivers of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organisation. Minister St.Ange was elected the first President of the Organisation. He is also a founding member of the ICTP (International Coalition of Tourism Partners) along with Geoffrey Lipman and Juergen Steinmetz. This world tourism body was created to rally not only country’s but to also bring together serious tourism professionals and companies who believe in the long vision of green and sustainable tourism.

It was also under the leadership of Minister St.Ange that Seychelles hosted Routes Africa and launched the annual Carnaval International de Victoria. This successful carnival has since been called by the world press as the unique ‘Carnival of Carnivals’ remains the only carnival where all the best and most popular carnivals parade side by side and alongside cultural troupes from the Community of Nations. This equatorial Vanilla Islands carnival was this year co-hosted by Seychelles, La Reunion, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

Seychelles is also this year a candidate for a seat on the UNWTO Executive Committee. This election is set for August at the UNWTO General Assembly in Zambia / Zimbabwe.

From Seychelles it was revealed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), through Mrs carol Baker, the Head of its Mission had hailed Seychelles as ‘outperforming’ many similar island destinations with year to date visitor arrival figures indicating an increase of over 20% for the first two months of 2013. On 2012 Seychelles saw a n increase of 7% in visitor arrival numbers when the figures in Mauritius stagnated.
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