Tourism department clarifies situation with influencer |13 May 2022
- ‘There was no commitment of any other agreement between Tourism Seychelles and the person for accommodation or transfers’ – Bernadette Willemin
Recently, there was an article posted on Travel Noire platform entitled ‘Black Travel Influencer Details Mistreatment by Seychelles Tourism Board’. The article gives details about the African American influencer, Abigail Akinyemi, depicting her bad experience in Seychelles.
Commenting on that article circulating on social media, the director-general for Destination Marketing, Bernadette Willemin, said: “This is quite unfortunate, considering the excellent reputation we enjoyed with partners all around the world. Our spending is carefully budgeted for two main reasons: we are accountable to the government and taxpayers, and we have to ensure that we spend wisely and even more important, we get the return on investment. Secondly, we cannot compete or spend like our competitors do because we get a smaller budget, and we work according to our resources. Aside from our usual collaborations on media and educational trips, like most destinations, influencer promotion is part of the marketing mix to boost Seychelles’ visibility. The scope of our work is quite wide, bearing in mind we receive a high number of requests for collaborations every year. Our commitment to work with an influencer will be based on a strict vetting system where we not only assess their engagement or followings but also ensure that their focus align with our values as a destination and fit our marketing strategies.”
She further mentioned that since the beginning of the year, Tourism Seychelles has received over 30 requests for collaboration per market, that is for some 20 markets. Working with an influencer would mean that to a very large extent, the Tourism department will be paying for the accommodation, meals, transfers, excursions and tours as well as other ground logistics to ensure the guest has a memorable stay on our islands. And in return for this, we expect the commitment and coverage or exposure they have promised. There is always an agreement between the department and the guest to ensure that the sponsorship or hosting of the trip is clear for both partners.
Mrs Willemin concluded that every partnership with an influencer is carefully evaluated and weighed against its return on investment and there has always been good collaboration with the partners.
“Always in keeping with our strategies, whenever we are contacted by an influencer, we first see if they fit our criteria. If yes, we engage in further negotiation as to what we can offer or sponsor towards the trip. Same process was applied with Ms Akinyemi, whereby there was an agreement to collaborate with her by offering a few excursions. There was no commitment of any other agreement between Tourism Seychelles and the person for accommodation or transfers. To help her with ground logistics, our team had put her in contact with other partners for her bookings. Our team followed up with her on several occasions for her itinerary so that we could arrange her excursions according to her programme. We received no response from her. It is regrettable to read her article now as it not only paints a bad image for our destination but also disheartens our staff who work tirelessly to make sure we treat all our guests respectfully, regardless of where they come from. We remain very proud ambassadors of our destination,” she said.