The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne has visited the premises of five international airlines with a permanent presence in Seychelles.
The visit was conducted on Friday February 23, 2018.
The minister was accompanied by the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Garry Albert, and Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis.
This was his first visit to the airline offices since assuming the portfolio of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports, and Marine, in December 2016.
The tour started at the offices of Emirates Airline, which is now located on the first floor of the Al Nahyan Complex on Francis Rachel Street. The manager of Emirates airline in Seychelles, Denise Prea, gave the ministerial delegation a tour of the premises, introducing them to the staff.
Emirates started operations in Seychelles in 2005 and currently offers 14 weekly flights to the island destination, connection Seychelles twice daily to Dubai.
SriLankan Airlines situated in the Ebrahim Building, on Francis Rachel Street was the second airline to be visited.
The Station Manager, Franky Hetimier, and his all-Seychellois team were all pleased to hold discussions with the minister and his delegation, giving details of the carrier’s international network. Among the locals, it was pointed out that SriLankan Airlines is used by many people heading to Sri Lanka for medical purposes.
SriLankan Airlines started flying to Seychelles in November 2016, replacing Mihin Lanka, which had been serving the Seychelles-Colombo route from November 2013 to October 2016.
Ethiopian Airlines, which currently flies six times a week to Seychelles, was next to receive the ministerial delegation. The airline’s office is located on the ground floor of Michel Building on Revolution Avenue, where its area manager Meron Tsegaye leads a team of four Seychellois.
Ethiopian Airlines, which uses its strategic hub in Addis Ababa to fly to Seychelles and beyond, greatly supports the island nation’s Chinese market. China is, in fact, the airline’s main market and Ms. Tsegaye explained that they recently had to upgrade their aircraft to have more carrying capacity due to a large number of Chinese tourists flying to Seychelles to spend their Chinese New Year holiday.
Ms. Tsegaye took the opportunity to thank the Seychelles Tourism Board for its continuous support while highlighting the airline's plan to add a 7th weekly flight to Seychelles.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne welcomed news that Seychelles will soon have daily flights by Ethiopian Airlines, adding that the extra flight will help the country to develop other markets, particularly highlighting the Korean market.
Ethiopian Airlines offers a service from Seoul to its strategic hub in Addis Ababa via Hong Kong, with onward connections to other destinations including Seychelles. The Tourism Minister noted that this presents the opportunity for the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Korea office to align its marketing plan to entice more Korean visitors to come to Seychelles.
The tour then proceeded to the offices of Qatar Airways on the first floor of the Capital City Building on revolution Avenue, where the airline’s team expressed the need to further increase Seychelles’ visibility among the Middle Eastern holidaymakers. Qatar Airways, which first landed in Seychelles in 2004, operates daily flights to the island nation from its central hub, Doha.
The last airline to be visited on Friday was Kenya airways located on the ground floor at Kingsgate House where they were welcomed by the Sales & Ticketing Supervisor, Sam Toussaint, and his team of three Seychellois staff. Kenya Airways has been operating in Seychelles for some 40 years now, linking the country to the African continent.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne commended the airline for having been a faithful partner aiding Seychelles’ tourism industry and highlighted the importance of finding mechanisms to entice more African holidaymakers to visit Seychelles.
At the end of his tour, the minister said: “I wanted to show my support to all the airlines and this also forms part of my calendar of visits for this year.”