|Alain Ste Ange|
Year-to-date figures for 2013 shows that a 14% increase over the 2012 figures have been recorded as of June 30, 2013.
“Despite all the challenges our tourism industry is facing, we are still riding a good wave. The economic difficulties in our main markets is showing no sign of redress, but the planning undertaken by the Tourism Board's Marketing Team and the Board's Overseas Offices at the annual marketing strategy meetings keeps us being proactive and intelligent in our sales and marketing actions," says Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.
Seychelles has maintained a good level of visibility in all markets due to its strong links with press organizations and by working to get press to Seychelles during major events organized in the country. The major challenge is still to get maximum benefits from the visibility and this is to get travel agents selling Seychelles to get to know the destination once they have committed to push Seychelles. This remains a weak link in the Seychelles strategy which suffered even more since the Tourism Board loss the airline seats for travel agents previously provided by Air Seychelles from all the main markets. This point was raised only a week ago at the mid-year review meeting between the Seychelles tourism trade and the Tourism Board Marketing Team.
“We have broken into the world of events, because we knew that this would increase press coverage for Seychelles over and above providing entertainment for our people. The annual Carnaval International de Victoria continues to surpass the expected press coverage it attracts. We now have to raise the bar for the Festival Kreol, and we need to do for SUBIOS, our Festival of the Sea. Then we have to sell the events centered around our diversity of culture and promote our celebrations of the Commonwealth Day, the La Francophonie celebrations, and now the Indian Day in Seychelles, and we shall have to also promote the Chinese Spring Festival when this is finally launched. Our diversity is a unique selling point, and we need to be proud of the five source branches making the Seychellois nation we see today," Minister St.Ange said.
Today, Europe is showing a clear 12% increase over 2012 with France alone increasing by a 12 percentage point, UK by 14%, Germany by a staggering 29%. Asia is also showing signs of growth as is Africa and the Americas. “The diversification policy at the Tourism Board has worked, and the push to continue to claim our fair share from our traditional markets at the same time keeps us moving forward. We now need the private sector to look at how to increase yield from our tourism industry, and this is not and cannot be just the room rates. We need more for tourists to spend on, and this is where the private sector needs to continue to be encouraged to innovate," the Minister for Tourism and Culture said.
Minister St.Ange took this opportunity to congratulate SENPA and Kempinski Resort for working together to stage a weekly Artisanal Bazaar during the resorts’ weekly Management Cocktail for their guests. “This is a commendable initiative and more hotels and resorts should be encouraged to follow the example. The sales at such events is money entering our country from tourism. If we all get involved, we will see more benefits, and our artisans and local musicians will feel more part of the industry that remains the pillar of our economy," the Minister said.