Making all efforts count to bring visitors back to Seychelles in 2022 |30 December 2022
Kicking off 2022 with its marketing strategy meeting, the Tourism Seychelles team set the tone for its various teams across the globe. The event included a two-week series of virtual consultations with its local and international partners.
Making all efforts count to bring visitors back to the destination, Tourism Seychelles has kept its place in the limelight through its appearances at local and international events.
The Tourism Seychelles team took part in numerous events to represent the destination. Starting its appearances at European marketing events, Seychelles attended FITUR, an international trade fair held in Madrid, Spain, from January 19. The five-day event included three trade days and two consumer days. While the first three days were dedicated to meetings with travel trade professionals and media, the remaining two days of the event saw the transformation of the island nation’s booth into a business-to-consumer platform to welcome the public.
After that Tourism Seychelles moved to the Danish Travel Show from February 25-27 and later attended the Access Luxury Travel Show (ALTS) workshop in Prague on March 15-16 in Central Eastern Europe (CEE).
In April the Tourism Seychelles team based in France took on a mission to increase visibility for the island destination, spending a month and a half on the road between France and Belgium attending consumer fairs, namely Tourissima in Lille, Vakantie Expo in Antwerp, Destination Nature in Paris, and Salon des Vacances in Brussels. In that same month, Seychelles won the GIST Green Travel Award for its excellence in Sustainable and Responsible Tourism at the Trade and Consumer Fair BIT in Italy.
In September, Seychelles was represented at the 44th International & French Travel Market (IFTM) Top Resa 2022, which took place at the Porte de Versailles in the French capital Paris from the 20th to 22nd. Principal secretary for tourism, Sherin Francis, was present at the event accompanied by the team.
The destination successfully reconnected with international partners from the United Kingdom (UK) and around the globe at the 43rd World Travel Market London held from November 7-9 at ExCel in London.
The Tourism Seychelles team attended two last events for the European market, in Germany and Spain, namely the Berlin Travel Festival, which took place from November 25-27 on the premises of the Messe Berlin and the 35th IBTM Trade Fair in the capital city of Catalonia in Barcelona.
Moving on to the Middle Eastern market, In the last two days of March, the Tourism Seychelles team attended the 10th Meetings Arabia & Luxury Travel Congress, commonly known as MALT congress. In May, the director general for destination marketing, Bernadette Willemin and the Tourism Seychelles team attended the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the leading global event for the Middle East inbound and outbound travel industry, held at Dubai World Trade Centre. The destination was also present at the Riyadh Travel Fair held from May 22-24.
As part of its promotional activities in the first quarter of 2022, the Tourism Seychelles team was also present in Turkey at the East Mediterranean International Tourism & Travel Exhibition (EMITT) 2022 from February 9-12.
The team also took part in the ILTM Asia Pacific, an International Luxury Travel Market held in Singapore during September and in June, the destination garnered the ‘Best Booth Content’ award for its creative ideas and uniqueness at the 37th Seoul International Trade Fair (SITF), in South Korea.
In April, some of the Tourism Seychelles team responsible for the South African market represented the destination at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa event.
Keeping the efforts at par in the last quarter of the year, the Seychelles team strived to maintain Seychelles in the limelight. The destination shone bright through its three-day Magical Kenya Travel Expo in Nairobi in early October, during which the Seychelles team received a visit from the Minister for Tourism in Kenya, Najib Balala.
Throughout the year, the team did not spare any efforts to keep the destination visible by enhancing their relationship with partners and organising several events across the globe to reunite tourism trade and media partners for destination presentations events, including roadshows, workshops, press familiarisation trips and digital campaigns.
Making a hit
To make Seychelles more visible, various campaigns were organised in 2022. Two notable ones included a Taxi Campaign launched in Italy in February and Spain in June.
A fleet of one hundred branded taxis showcasing the beauty of the Seychelles archipelago roam among one of the greatest Italian cities, captivating consumers’ attention and compelling them to dream about their next holiday. In Spain, Seychelles drew attention at the launch of the first flagship store of the Spanish Exclusive Travel Expert NUBA, which is located at the city's Golden Mile, one of the most prestigious areas of Madrid.
Recuperating from its plunge due to the pandemic, Seychelles saw its visitor arrival numbers grow steadily over the months.
Predicting a successful recovery for its tourism industry, after only 111 days, the destination hit its first milestone and recorded its first 100,000 visitors in April, with France, Russia, and Germany on top of its arrival charts.
The destination met another milestone as the arrival numbers topped the 182,849 passengers who travelled to the island destination last year, surpassing the 2021 figures in the third quarter of the year. Celebrating the achievement, the passengers of the morning flights on July 27 were treated with small gifts courtesy of the tourism department.
Keeping its momentum, the destination achieved another milestone in October, when the visitor arrival numbers exceeded the target set for 2022, two months ahead of the year’s end. Marking the event, the tourism department hosted a special meet-and-greet at the Seychelles International Airport on Saturday 15th. Visitors exiting the arrival terminal were welcomed by the principal secretary for tourism, Sherine Francis, and staff of the department, while a traditional band animated the afternoon with cultural performances.
While visitors keep arriving at the destination, the destination recorded 300,000 visitors in November, just some 80,000 visitors to reach the record made in 2019, affirming the recovery of the destination. Remaining on the top of the arrival charts are the traditional source markets, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, while Russia remains steady as one of the best-performing strategic markets for the destination.
The destination is expecting to reach around 325,000 visitors by December 31, 2022.
Awards and recognition
The Seychelles islands swept up several prestigious awards throughout the year.
Amongst the recognitions received by the destination, two notable ones were received at international trade events. In April, Seychelles won the GIST Green Travel Award for its excellence in Sustainable and Responsible Tourism at the Trade and Consumer Fair BIT in Italy and in June, the destination garnered the ‘Best Booth Content’ award for its creative ideas and uniqueness at the 37th Seoul International Trade Fair (SITF), in South Korea.
Seychelles was acclaimed as the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination 2022’ during the 29th annual World Travel Awards, hosted at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday October 15, 2022. The destination scooped three additional titles, including the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Destination 2022’, Seychelles’ Port Victoria winning the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Port’ and Air Seychelles winning the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’.
In November, Seychelles took home yet another award, receiving the Star Luxury Destination Award at the Travel Bulletin Star Awards ceremony in London. Seychelles was awarded by the Star Luxury Destination magazine’s readers, who were left with the most magnetic pull towards the archipelago’s many wonders. The triumph meant that Seychelles excelled above the six other competing nominees, which comprised Mauritius, Maldives, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia. Seychelles had previously been voted a finalist in the Star Country/Destination for Luxury Holidays category in the Travel Bulletin Star Awards 2016.
Closing the year with one of the most prestigious awards, Seychelles received the title of the World’s Most Romantic Destination for the third consecutive year at the World Travel Awards Grand Final. The accolade affirmed the islands’ alluring appeal for honeymooners and couples that flock to Seychelles seeking their long-awaited fairy-tale-like vacation.
In the Spotlight
Seychelles was represented at various international forums, one being the One Ocean Summit in Brest, France, where Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde delivered the opening address. Under the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme, the event focused on how the Blue Economy can be integrated into the tourism industry, supporting the conservation of the ocean, a mission Seychelles has heavily invested in over the years.
Enhancing Seychelles’ image as the ultimate romantic destination, Tourism Seychelles collaborated with the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage, and the Arts for the ‘Wedding in Paradise’ event held on February 10 at the St. Regis in Downtown Dubai.
The event created the ideal platform for networking between Seychelles tourism players, specialised tour operators, destination wedding planners and other notable wedding partners in Dubai. The exclusive tourism event was followed by the ‘Wedding in Paradise’ photography exhibition in collaboration at the Seychelles Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020.
Keeping Seychelles in the spotlight, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Sherin Francis, participated in the 65th Commission for Africa (CAF) meeting and forum on Rebuilding Africa’s Tourism Resilience held from October 5-7, 2022, in Arusha, Tanzania. The focus of the meeting was on the challenges and solutions for recovery and resilience of tourism in Africa, with new priorities focusing on investment, employment, connectivity, digital transformation, and sustainability.
Whilst keeping the destination in the limelight, the tourism department continued its work to improve its product offerings. Through the implementation of several activities and programmes, the tourism department has been striving to increase the quality of the overall experience of visitors through the quality of services, products offered, and the quality of the workforce in the industry.
In March, PS Francis, announced the progress on its tourism human resource development (THRD) strategy, launched in January 2022. The tourism human resource development (THRD) strategy, which is part of the nine priorities of the tourism department presented by Mrs Francis in June 2021, aims at establishing the needs of the tourism industry with an improved understanding of the factors that are influencing and shaping the human resource supply and demand dynamics.
The team also started an audit work in the local community to identify the various products and activities on offer that could be enhanced. Around seven districts have been covered to date, and the team has identified some 60 potential products for further development to increase visitors’ experience.
The team has also been actively working with other government bodies and private entities to put in place monthly activities around the island and successfully organised several bazaars and cultural events, including the Rendez-Vous Diguois - launched during the Tourism Festival and the Bazar Domaine ‒ launched during the Creole Festival.
While building capacity for the industry, the tourism team also engaged in training sessions as 10 members of the monitoring and classification unit from the tourism department underwent a five-day training on hotel classification in October. The workshop was made possible by officials from the Training Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) through a bilateral agreement signed between Seychelles and South Africa. During the five-day sessions, the officials covered 11 modules that would prepare the participants for the implementation of the grading programme in Seychelles. Now fully equipped with the necessary knowledge, the ten staff members will serve as local assessors.
Policies and industry development
One of the milestones achieved by Seychelles this year in the region is the launch of the tourism satellite account (TSA). While Seychelles is not the first country to deploy this system, it remains the first African country to fully launch it, which is designed to enhance Seychelles’ tourism statistics system. The overall data collected through the TSA allows tourism to be compared with other industries, such as fishing, agriculture and manufacturing, in terms of revenue and sustainability. This will improve the formulation of policies that regulate the tourism sector. The system was handed over Laura Ah-time, chief executive of the National Bureau of Statistics, as the sole operator of the system.
As part of the industry’s development, several consultative meetings were held with partners on the inner islands regarding the upcoming presentation of the carrying capacity recommendation paper to the cabinet. The study aims at establishing the current tourism development status of the tourism industry while determining the maximum holding capacity of the island without destroying the physical, economic, and socio-cultural environment.
Throughout the year, the tourism department recertified nine tourism establishments with the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL). Launched in 2012, the voluntary programme is internationally recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and applicable to tourism enterprises of all sizes.
As part of the tourism department’s efforts to continuously promote the programme, the team has been selecting random establishments to conduct one-on-one meetings to encourage participation, offering any assistance to tourism businesses interested in the initiative. The Seychelles sustainable tourism Label has also welcomed two new establishments in 2022. The team has also worked on developing standard criteria for restaurants, tour operators and yacht charters; these have also been piloted and are ready for implementation.
In January, the department launched its service excellence programme, ‘Lospitalite ‒ Lafyerte Sesel’. The programme, which was very well received by the public and partners, is based on three main pillars ‒ Sensitisation and Awareness, Education and Training, and Recognition and Awards. The programme aims to change people’s attitudes and perceptions concerning customer service in Seychelles and is anticipated to be the start of a long-lasting national project.
Building on the momentum of the launch of ‘Lospitalite ‒ Lafyerte Sesel’, the tourism department joined forces with the Ministry for Education to revamp the school tourism clubs in February. Rebranded to ‘Lospitalite Tourism Clubs’, the clubs, launched in March 2019, regrouped students of primary and secondary schools around Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, intending to spark their interest in hospitality. Participating schools have been adopted by a tourism business.
The first year of the programme’s implementation ended on a high note with the very first Lospitalite ‒ Lafyerte Sesel service excellence awards, which was held on Saturday October 1 at Kempinski Resort, Baie Lazare.
The highly anticipated event gathered over a hundred professionals from various corners of the tourism industry for a glamourous evening of fine dining, camaraderie and plenty of surprises. A total of 57 prizes were up for grabs in two categories – Best Tourism Businesses and Best Tourism Employees.
Contributed by Tourism Seychelles