The Seychelles Tourism Board’s end of year marketing meeting for 2017 was held on Monday December 18, 2017, at the Kempinski Seychelles Resort.
The meeting was attended by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, the Deputy Chief Executive, Jenifer Sinon, managers of the various tourism offices abroad, staff of the STB, as well as tourism trade partners.
Those present were given an overview of the tourism industry’s performance for this year.
Up to the 49th week of 2017, a total of 326,523 visitors have come to Seychelles, representing a 16% increase over last year.
Germany is the leading market with 48,218 visitors so far, representing an increase of 29 percent compared to 2016.
France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Italy, United Kingdom & Northern Ireland, and South Africa are also among the top six leading markets.
A video portraying a few of the many promotional activities conducted by the various STB overseas offices with the support of their trade partners was played at the meeting, showcasing the amount of work, dedication and creativity devoted to the marketing of the destination.
Addressing those present, Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne highlighted that 2017 has set another record in terms of tourism arrival and that the Central Bank of Seychelles has indicated that the corresponding tourism earning up to November 2017, has also increased by 20 percent.
He added that there is a need to set new challenges and target for the years ahead -- the ultimate goal is to achieve 500,000 visitors and $700 million in tourism earnings by 2021.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne mentioned the introduction of new non-stop, direct flights by British Airways, Air France through its sister airline ‘Joon’ as well as Switzerland’s Edelweiss Air, to Seychelles in 2018, as some of the encouraging developments on the horizon, while highlighting a few challenges including increased number of illegal accommodation, as well a recent surge in violence against visitors, which he said will not be tolerated.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, also talked about the record number visitors and increased tourism receipts in 2017, as well as new airlines flying to the country this year and those coming in 2018. She emphasized on the need for all stakeholders to continue working together to ensure that the destination remains visible.
“Our set target for growth for the year 2018 is between 8-10%. Our priorities for 2018 will be in the markets where we will be having increased air lift. It makes sense in terms of strategy as with the support of the airlines our resources will be doubled but for that to happen we have to invest as well. We cannot go to the table empty handed and expect them to invest alone,” said Mrs Francis.
“Two additional markets which will receive added boosts and support for 2018 will be Italy and the North America. This is also at the request of our trade partners. The two markets which are actually on a good growth trajectory, it has good ingredients for growth but with a bit added oomph will definitely react better and show greater results. We will continue to invest in strategic and well selected above the line campaigns for our key strategic markets that are bringing the bulk our business,” she added.
Mrs Francis also had words of appreciation for the tourism board’s staff, both locally and abroad, thanking them for their hard work and tenacity, as well as all trade partners for their support throughout the year 2017.
The end of year marketing meeting also provided the trade partners, including representatives of hotels, airlines, travel agencies and tour operators, with the opportunity to raise their concerns on issues that are affecting or may affect the success of the industry. Some of the concerns raised were linked to safety on nature trails, cleanliness, level of service, the need to have infrastructure development that matches the number of visitors being targeted for Seychelles, among others.
The main component of the meeting was the presentation of the 2018 strategy for each market where the Seychelles Tourism Board is represented either with a permanent or representation office.
Through their presentations the various managers highlighted their major achievements as well as their challenges for the current year. They also presented details of the anticipated growth of their respective markets, as well as their various marketing campaigns and strategies for next year.
To note that Seychelles is also expected to host a number of international events in 2018, including the FINA World Championship for 10 km open water swimming, the Seychelles Regatta – sailing competition, as well the European Senior tour golf tournament, which are all being viewed as excellent marketing tools to further boost the destination’s profile.