Interview with Maxim Behar, honorary consul general of the Republic of Seychelles in Bulgaria ‘Seychelles is now the cleanest and safest destination for tourists in the world’ |17 March 2021
Maxim Behar, honorary consul general of the Republic of Seychelles in Bulgaria, shared in an interview for Bgtourism.bg about what are the conditions for visiting the exotic destination Seychelles, how fast the vaccination of the local population is developing, and what are the great advantages for Bulgarian tourists there.
Mr Behar is a global renowned public relations expert, founder, chief executive and chairman of the Board of M3 Communications Group, Inc. – a leading company in the field of public relations and social media in Bulgaria. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Programme in Leadership Decision Making.
Mr Behar is also the founder of Seychelles News Agency, Seychelles Investment Forum and tens of other projects helping Seychelles to be promoted better in the world.
A global ambassador of African Public Relations Association and chairman of the PR & Media Committee of World Federation of Consuls, Mr Behar is then president of the World Communications Forum Association, based in Davos, Switzerland, and a full member of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). In May 2020, US edition of PRWeek announced Maxim Behar Best PR professional in Europe.
Mr Behar is also past president of ICCO ‒ the largest and most influential global organisation of Public Relations professionals and practitioners. In 2016 he was appointed to the advisory board of the Museum of Public Relations in New York.
In 2017, Mr Behar was inducted into the World’s ICCO PR Hall of Fame in London.
In this article we are reproducing was printed in the latest issue of Bulgarian tourism portal, a day after Mr Behar gave a more detailed interview to Bloomberg TV praising Seychelles and providing useful details to tourists inviting them to start visiting Seychelles after March 25.
Bgtourism.bg: Mr Behar, the Republic of Seychelles has announced that it will open its borders to tourists from March 25. What are the conditions and opportunities to visit this exotic destination?
Maxim Behar: Visitors to the Republic of Seychelles after March 25, 2021 must have a negative PCR test done up to 72 hours before departure. Nothing else! This is the only requirement. All restaurants, hotels, recreation areas and public places will be open to them without restrictions if they meet these conditions. Of course, the obligation to wear masks, to keep distance, disinfection and hygiene everywhere remain the same.
Bgtourism.bg: Seychelles currently ranks first in the world in terms of vaccinated population per 1,000 people, and it is estimated that by mid-April, the entire population will be vaccinated.
Maxim Behar: This minimises the risk of infection and naturally protects tourists to the maximum. The convenient connection from Sofia (Bulgaria) to Turkish Airlines via Istanbul also started at the same time and I expect all these hundreds of people who during these quarantine days called the consulate insistently with questions about when they will finally be able to leave for Seychelles to be calm. If the interest really remains, I do not rule out Bulgarian tour operators to organise charter flights to the capital Victoria. I remind you that every tourist or other visitor to the Seychelles can stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa.
Bgtourism.bg: How is the rate of vaccination of the local population going and can the Seychelles be a safe destination?
Maxim Behar: By the end of April at the latest, the entire population will be vaccinated, this will be an absolute record. And yes, the Republic of Seychelles will definitely become the safest place in the world. Of course, it should be noted that long before the pandemic, the Seychelles was the cleanest ecological place in Africa, with a very large percentage of the territory under the auspices of Unesco and other institutions, as well as proverbially strict environmental measures.
Bgtourism.bg: What can the Seychelles offer to Bulgarian tourists for a complete and varied vacation? Has it become more accessible in the competition of the offers that tourists from all over the world have today from the Dominican Republic, Maldives, Zanzibar and other countries with white beaches and exotic nature?
Maxim Behar: Seychelles has always been an immeasurably more competitive destination than any other for a complete and pleasant vacation. Now we add another advantage ‒ safety. No sense in reminding you of the vast beaches, the 115 uniquely beautiful islands and the unique sunsets and sunrises, the hospitality of the locals, whose faces never leave smiles хора.
One of the big advantages is also the great variety of accommodation ‒ from five-star super luxury hotels and villas, to ordinary Creole houses on the beach, which also provide very good conditions for relaxation. If I have to choose what I always do when I'm in the Seychelles, I always stop at Creole houses. Of course, the prices in the Seychelles are not the lowest, but in the end they are determined by the extremely high quality of services, the incredible variety of almost pristine places to visit and the unique Creole cuisine.
Bgtourism.bg: How many Bulgarian tourists annually booked the Seychelles for their vacation before Covid-19 and how over the years the interest of our compatriots to the destination has increased?
Maxim Behar: We have never had accurate statistics, in my opinion between 2,500 and 3,000 people in 2019, I am convinced that after March 25 the interest will be many times higher. One of the results of the pandemic will certainly be that now Bulgarian tourists will be much more demanding of cleanliness, the ecological environment and most of all – security of health.
Bgtourism.bg: When was the last time you were there and when do you plan to enjoy again the wonderful opportunities that the Seychelles offers for a wonderful and quality vacation?
Maxim Behar: I was last in the Seychelles in 2019. I plan to be there, if all goes well, at the end of April this year. In fact, 2020 is the only year in which I have not visited my favorite islands since 2004, when I first set foot there and fell in love with nature, the beaches, the sun, but most of all ‒ the people.
Bgtourism.bg: What would you recommend to Bulgarian tourists who have yet to make their choice in the sea of offers?
Maxim Behar: Definitely ‒ each of the 115 islands of Seychelles. In addition to all the advantages ‒ 100% certainty that you will not have an accidental infection, visa-free regime, unique beaches and fantastic food, I will add one indisputable ‒ the convenient flight of Turkish Airlines. You take off at 9pm and with a minimal stay in Istanbul you are on the beach in the morning, without even feeling the time difference, which is only one hour.