The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) office in South Africa has been quite busy boosting the destination’s visibility at six different fairs in five weeks.
Working alongside some of the main tour operators on the market, the office has ensured that Seychelles stays top of mind, enticing South African holidaymakers from Johannesburg to Durban and Cape Town to choose the island destination as their next holiday spot.
Led by the Director in South Africa, Lena Hoareau, STB was represented at three bridal shows -- Oakfield Bridal show in Johannesburg, Canal Walk Bridal Fair in Cape Town and the NWJ Bridal and Events show in Durban.
Some great honeymoon packages were on offer at all three shows, making it more appealing for more couples to visit such a desirable holiday location.
Seychelles was also present at the Beeld Holiday Show in Midrand, an exhibition targeting the lucrative Afrikaans market. Seychelles stood out thanks to the stand’s beautiful backdrop showcasing the islands’ white-sandy beaches and lush green vegetation.
The packages on offer were also a big hit, as many people realised that they could actually spend the same budget they were investing on a camping vacation year in and year out, to actually go to the Seychelles.
STB also exhibited at the Travel Expo, which was a major success, registering a record of over 25, 000 visitors this year. The Travel expo is organised by Flight Centre, one of Seychelles’ main Tour Operators on the market.
The Seychelles’ stand was very busy as customers collected brochures and gathered as much information as possible from the team. Flight Centre was also promoting various offers and people who had decided on a Seychelles’ holiday, were able to make their bookings on site, at the Flight Centre reservation desks.
The MICE segment was also targeted as STB attended the biggest MICE fair in Africa – Meetings Africa – which took place in the upmarket and well-targetted Sandton city. Mrs Hoareau was accompanied at the Meetings Africa exhibition by STB’s Marketing Executive, Ingride Laurencine, Celia Ponzo from Eden Bleu hotel and Thembi Nkosi from Air Seychelles.
In recent years, the global meetings industry has been continuously growing and looking at Africa as a sought-after destination. Seychelles has also gradually increased its share of that particular market and observed growing interests in its diverse services and products on offer.
At this year’s exhibition, the Seychelles delegation received more queries for incentives and groups, compared to previous years when there was more focus on meetings and conferencing.
Eden Bleu, one of the hotels offering meetings and conferencing facilities, partnered with the Seychelles Tourism Board and Air Seychelles at this exhibition, and managed to capture a lot of interest.
The Director of the Seychelles Tourism Board office in South Africa, Lena Hoareau, said it was a very busy five weeks but more importantly, the various promotional events allowed the destination to gain added visibility among the weddings and honeymoons, leisure holidays and MICE segments.
“While we have been quite visible on television and in various publications since the beginning of the year, mainly as a result of press trips we hosted last year, it was important for us to be physically present at these important fairs on the market,” said Mrs Hoareau.
“This has allowed us to remain relevant as the market is yearning for new destinations and new holiday options. We have to really be out there to be able to grab a bigger market share of the people who can afford to travel and want to explore new places,” she added.
Mrs Hoareau said one thing that came out strongly at all the events is that while there is a lot of awareness about Seychelles, there is a need to change the perception of South African holidaymakers that Seychelles is exclusively an expensive destination.
She noted that many people were quite surprised to see that some of the packages on offer matched those being offered by the neighbouring competitors and that Seychelles has more to offer than the traditional sun, sea and sand.
“We have a lot of positive happenings on the market for Seychelles at the moment – from cross-branding campaigns to exposure in the mainstream media – and we hope that these would translate into new bookings,” said Mrs Hoareau.