The Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture Mr. Alain St.Ange said “By year end, visitor arrivals is expected to increase by at least 10% to reach over 228,000 visitors and set another record for the country. Despite the lack of direct non-stop access to Europe, our main core markets has rebounded and increased by 10%, according to latest figures. Indeed, Europe remains the largest market for Seychelles. This is being led by France, Germany, Italy, Russia, although visitors from Italy is still down 7% compared to 2012. Diversification of the tourism markets continue to bear real gains with an increase of visitors from Asia by about 21%, in particular China up 74% and Middle East by 11. Asia is now the second largest market, followed by Africa up 8%, with South Africa increasing by 10%.
For 2014, the Tourism Board foresees an increase of between 5 to 8 per cent in visitor arrivals over 2013 figures. The Tourism Board will continue with its plans to consolidate its efforts in the traditional markets of Europe by channelling adequate funds to appropriate activities – be they marketing activities, road shows, workshops, media or press, this is not forgetting as well as working with existing ‘partners’ who remain passionate about selling the destination whilst seeking new interests at every given opportunity. This approach I fully support, because for many many years Seychelles, and here both the private sector and the Government, have invested heavily to get this market to be where it is today. The market that knows the Seychelles well, that market that now understands Seychelles and that Market that appreciates the Seychelles as a relevant tourism destination for their market.
As we also endeavour to intensify efforts in our emerging markets in Asia, Middle East and the Americas, we are conscious that adequate research continues to be required. This is of prime importance as it will assist us in targeting the right kind marketing to the right ‘clientele’, as well as working with the right ‘partners’ such as the Tour Operators, Press, Media so as to maximise visitor potential.
Important for us all to appreciate are also the constraints we face as we stimulate the different markets. Tour Operator partners will move to seek press visits and educational tours for their agents. This are we are today seriously suffering because we are unable to pay for all the airline seats we need to keep our destination relevant and visible. The big question for you all will be to reflect seriously before looking at new offices and opening new markets, because we are unable to service these markets and then this hurts the destination.
The Tourism Board’s strategy in 2014 also includes to keep on developing our various niche markets with potential to be further explored. Sailing and cruise ship tourism is one where the time is now for us to reactivate and capture the growing market. As Piracy in the Indian Ocean begins to be less of a threat, we must prepare ourselves for 2014 and beyond. We will work with the right partners to reactivate this market, and here we must say that we are relying on the input of our Trade partners who specialise in this kind of Tourism to work with us to make this a success.
In our aim to continue promoting Seychelles as an ‘affordable’ destination, we need to keep on working with the smaller establishments to help them to become active in the world of marketing and sales. Affordable accommodation must be marketed and the right markets for them should be targeted.
Our aim is to showcase the Seychelles as a destination which offers different types of accommodation – and thereby attract visitors from different budget range. We hope that with the willingness and input of the owners and management of such establishments, the year 2014/2015 will see an increase in the performance of our smaller establishments. While talking on small establishments, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture together with the Seychelles Tourism Board endeavour to also look at our various small operators which supports the tourism industry. Today I am happy to announce that following discussions with the CEO of the Tourism Board, proposals are now in place to have a dedicated Senior Marketing Executive to work with, and to work for the small home grown Seychellois establishments and to get them more known, so that they be better prepared to face increased competition.
For us to succeed in achieving all of our targets for the New Year ahead, there are challenges that we need together as an industry to surmount.
The first being accessibility which remains an important factor in the equation. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Seychelles Tourism Board together with the Ministry for Transport we are working together to ensure we remain accessible as a destination to our core as well as our potential markets.”