STB advocates safe tourism at World Travel Summit 2020 |14 September 2020
The Seychelles Tourism Board’s chief executive, Sherin Francis, represented the tropical island paradise at this year’s virtual World Travel Summit on Monday, September 7, 2020, where ‘Travel in the New Normal’ was the main focus.
Headed by Travel-Awards.Org, the world's best luxury travel award programme of professional recognition, the World Travel Summit united top travel leaders to lead insights on the future of the travel industry.
In addition to Mrs Francis, representatives from tourism boards across the globe and major hotel chains were also present to express their views and opinions. With the Travel Awards International Advisory Board of Directors at the helm, this global event shed light on how the hospitality industry can work its way to revival.
Outlining the steps to the recovery of the tourism industry in Seychelles, Mrs Francis talked about the integrated management for the recovery of Seychelles through the three pillars established by the country for the safe reopening of the destination. These elements encompass health and protecting the population as a first pillar; followed by building social cohesion and community resilience and lastly the very crucial step of economic response and recovery.
As part of the phases of the economic response and recovery of the country, she highlighted the three stages that were crucial for the restarting of tourism.
At the outset, maintaining demand was key in the recovery process. This was achieved through marketing strategies such as STB’s ‘Dream Now, Experience Seychelles Later’ campaign to keep the destination in the minds of potential holidaymakers. The campaign aimed at reinforcing contact with audiences through constant virtual communications. This proved to be crucial in engaging and maintaining relationships with overseas partners namely the media, travel trades and airlines.
The second essential step to tourism restart was the ability to reduce the impact on the suppliers. Mrs Francis explained the importance of domestic tourism in that stage followed by government support and intervention to certain extent and level. Additionally, the provision or market insight, trend and intelligence to help with future planning was identified as essential.
The last stage of the process, to enabling the economic recovery, was dominated by six main points including on the technical side the establishment of a tourism task force to drive the reopening process, establishing clear criteria and procedures for the restart of tourism, constant training and preparation of the local trade for the re-opening.
The process also involved the constant research and surveys to gather market intelligence data and insights that were used to establish travel corridors and launch appropriate and timely marketing campaigns and finally the engagement of the local population to welcome back visitors through constant communications and education platforms.
Talking about the future of the tourism industry, Mrs Francis emphasised on the vital importance of rebuilding confidence in travellers through the promotion of safe travel which she then highlighted by presenting measures and procedures and the various risks filters put into place by the local Public Health Authority.
Other presentations during this summit included ‘Opening a Hotel During Covid-19', ‘Delivering Unique Experiences during the new normal’, ‘Wellness in the new normal’, ‘Providing the path for safe & successful MICE events’ and ‘Creative concepts for hotels to drive revenue’.
The island destination welcomed back visitors as of June 1, 2020, through private and chartered flights before opening up to scheduled flights on August 1, 2020, after much preparation within the tourism industry in collaboration with the Public Health Authority.
With its pristine beauty, secluded location and low numbers of active cases, the Seychelles islands remain one of the world’s most desired holiday destinations, providing a sensational escape from the harsh reality of the current global climate.
The Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics recorded 2,072 visitors in August 2020.
Press release from the STB News Bureau