With the aim of capitalizing on growing interest in Seychelles among holidaymakers in the Middle East region, the Seychelles Tourism Board is aiming to create more brand awareness to further position the island nation as a destination of choice in that region.
According to statistics, over 20, 000 visitors from the Middle East have travelled to the Seychelles Islands from January to July this year. This represents a growth of 30 percent.
The United Arab Emirates is one market that is doing remarkably well. Currently standing as the third main source market, the UAE has sent 18,574 visitors to Seychelles up to 20th August, representing a 24 percent increase.
Aiming to keep the tourism numbers growing, the STB’s regional office in Dubai is getting ready to launch a series of marketing initiatives ranging from outdoor advertising as well as taxi, SMS and YouTube advertising campaigns.
The campaigns will be launched in several regions of the Middle-East, namely in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia – mainly in Riyadh and Jeddah, Kuwait, Qatar & Bahrain.
STB’s regional manager for the Middle East Ahmed Fathallah said “for the past several years one of our main strategies was to educate the trade partners with Seychelles’ unique selling points, however the market needs has changed wherein it is now more consumer driven.”
“With this we are adapting on the trend and we are positive that this will meet our objectives and return on investment will be quantifiable on the later stage through the number of visitors to Seychelles,” he added.
The majority of the campaigns will run for a little over two months, mainly between September and October.
For the outdoor advertising campaign, 23 double sided MUPI advertising panels will be launched at 3 business communities in Dubai. This is a mass marketing campaign where several artworks depicting key scenes of the Seychelles will be portrayed featuring tags translated into Arabic.
Aimed at captivating the attention of as many on the go consumers in Dubai, the taxi campaign will see some 50 taxis being fully branded with artworks depicting the Seychelles sceneries and the STB logo.
Targeting online consumers in the 25 to 60 age group, a 20-seconds non-skippable clip of the Seychelles will be featured on YouTube. The advertising campaign will be focussed on encouraging bookings and will be targeting potential travellers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar & Bahrain.
The SMS campaign is one that will run for one year, where ‘Seychelles TB’ will be the sender ID used to try and take advantage of the peak travel seasons in Middle East including the EID holiday, to drive more travellers to Seychelles.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs. Sherin Francis said: "It is important that we constantly look for ways to reach out to the discerning travellers as part of our strategy, so that we remain top of mind. For our source markets this strategy is as important as our trade relationships."
"In the case of UAE and the Middle East region, they are source markets with good air connectivity, ideal for both short and long weekend breaks, given that we are visa-free. I believe that as a destination we should be able to appeal to the travellers from there," she added.
Aside of the UAE, other Middle Eastern countries are also performing well in spite of not sending impressive number of visitors to Seychelles.
Arrivals from Qatar have increased by 167 percent with 2,369 visitors having disembarked in Seychelles from January to July this year, compared to 886 during the same period in 2016.
As for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain the arrival numbers have increased by 12 percent and 22 percent respectively.
Saudi Arabia has sent 1,465 visitors to Seychelles from January to July compared to 1,313 during the same period in 2016, while visitor arrivals from Bahrain stands at 396 for the first seven months of the year, compared to only 324 during the same period in 2016.