Africa

Seychelles Tourism Board Eyes India, Russia, UAE As Europe Remains Sealed

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) is promoting the island destination in Israel, India, Russia, UAE, and certain Eastern European countries as restrictions continue to impede travel between Seychelles and the core traditional markets.

This comes as Seychelles reopens its borders to visitors from any country except directly from South Africa on Thursday to relaunch its tourism industry, its top economic contributor.

The chief executive of STB, Sherin Francis, spoke during the Board’s virtual strategic marketing meeting for 2021 that started on Wednesday. She outlined that “we realised that there must be some demand in these markets.”

“It was important for the short term that we identify a list of what we call the ‘go-to markets’ where we know that investing in them we bring a faster return. Provided that we have good air connectivity and that travel restriction eases in those markets, there are travel corridors established, visitors do not require quarantine upon arrival in Seychelles or going back to these countries,” said Francis.

She outlined that Seychelles still has huge demand from the traditional markets – UK, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany but “all the six conditions need to be achieved for these markets to go on our ‘go-to list.”

“Right now, there are still restrictions in these markets. If anything eases eventually, the demand will probably convert into bookings and actual travels,” she said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourist figures have gone down by 90 percent, with a corresponding decline in earnings and revenue. The tourism minister, Sylvestre Radegonde, said that “to do nothing would be to commit economic suicide.”

“That is why the government took the decision to introduce a new policy, facilitating the arrival of visitors to Seychelles, taking effect on March 25. It is a risk that we must take but one which is calculated, courageous, and above all necessary. The decision was not taken in isolation but in consultation with all stakeholders in the industry,” said Radegonde.

Luxury and high value leisure, wedding and honeymoon, family and MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions – are the main segments being targeted. Nature, security, culture and heritage will be the main marketing tools used to attract more tourists.

“We are coming with ‘The Creole Rendezvous’ as our theme. We will put a lot of emphases as well on green tourist as we are one of nature’s last sanctuary in the world. Visitors have been closed up for a long time at home and many are looking for experiences. What sets us apart from other island destination is our culture, our food and people among others,” said Francis.