Switzerland gets a dose of sunny Seychelles.

As autumn sets in Europe, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) partnered with one of Switzerland’s largest Tour Operators, Manta Reisen, to showcase the pristine beauty of the islands.


The first major campaign in the Swiss market for the year started September 1, 2020, with alluring depictions of the tropical paradise displayed on the trams in Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland. With trams being one of the country's most used transports, the campaign is expected to have considerable reach and exposure.


The campaign, which is to run for a year, will keep the Seychelles Islands in the minds of visitors, sweeping them off their feet with images of the destination’s lush greenery, pearly white sands enveloped by mesmerising, turquoise waters.


Speaking of this initiative on the Swiss Market, STB Director for Switzerland Judeline Edmond mentions that this campaign is set to bring hope for the Swiss market.


“We are placing our efforts to bring the Seychelles dream to the Swiss visitors by reminding them about our beautiful destination. This contributes towards the STB’s strategy in establishing Seychelles as a safe destination and rebuilding the confidence of our visitors worldwide,” said Ms. Edmond.


Manta Reisen is not only a major Tour Operator specialising in promoting island destinations, but it also focuses on environmentally conscious travel which works hand in hand with Seychelles’ sustainability mission.


Ranking as the 6th highest market for Seychelles in 2019, the Switzerland remains one of the country’s most significant market. The destination recorded 2,727 Swiss passengers from January 1, 2020, to August 31, 2020, and since the re-opening of the Seychelles International Airport until August 31, 2020, 52 passengers from Switzerland was recorded.


Cooped up and confined to one small space, many people are developing the increasing urge to travel and explore far off places. The campaign reminds potential travellers that there is a small slice of heaven in the middle of the Indian Ocean waiting to be discovered.


The islands present visitors with the perfect opportunity to escape the harsh realities of the current global situation whilst reconnecting with their loved ones and nature.


Since the re-opening of the Seychelles International Airport, Switzerland has been on the list of approved countries to enter Seychelles, making the islands accessible to Swiss travellers. Additionally, the country has successfully established safety measures and procedures to ensure their visitors' travel experience remain undisrupted.

Seychelles Tourism Board advocating Safe Tourism at World Travel Summit 2020

The Seychelles Tourism Board Chief Executive, Mrs 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 program 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 encompassed 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. The Chief Executive 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 destination, 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.

 

Seychelles boosts visitor’s confidence through the creation of Special Status for main source markets

In an effort to provide more confidence to tourism partners in key source market countries the authorities in Seychelles has decided to provide special status to a group of seven countries.


The initiative will come into force as of October 1, 2020, will include main source market countries namely United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the United Arab Emirates.


The decision was made by the tourism task force, a committee chaired by Minister Didier Dogley, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine mandated to oversee all issues relating to the re-opening the destination during this period dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic.


This initiative aims to provide more confidence to visitors coming from these selected countries and to reassure them that even when their country does not feature on the permitted list of countries they will still be able to travel to Seychelles.


Under this new initiative, visitors will be allowed to travel to Seychelles however; more stringent sanitary measures will apply to ensure the safety of both visitors and the local population.


The advisory, to be published by September 18, 2020, will confirm the authorisation for visitors from distinctive countries considered prime markets for the destination to travel under special conditions if their countries of departure do not feature on the permitted list of countries to enter Seychelles.


“This is in particular when there is a spike or a rapid surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in their country of residence. Under normal circumstances whenever this happens and the number of cases goes beyond a particular threshold, visitors from these countries would not have been allowed to travel to Seychelles,” said the minister.


Minister Didier Dogley further informed that the decision was made based on the assessment of how the country has been performing since June 1, 2020, when Seychelles removed the air travel restrictions for the destination.


“Our performance as a small country handling arrival of visitors since June 1, 2020, has been a success. We have been able to open our borders to foreign visitors and reactivate our tourism industry in a meaningful manner, with some degree of confidence, while meeting our primary objective of protecting our local population from Covid-19. Providing special status to our key source market countries is of vital importance to ensure continuity during a period of much instability,” said Minister Dogley.

 
Other important prerequisites for travelling to Seychelles from the selected countries will include that prior to departure from their country of origin; visitors will have to submit a negative PCR test certificate from an accredited laboratory done within 48 hours from their time of departure. Furthermore, they will be expected to have valid travel insurance with full medical coverage for the duration of their stay.


Designated hotels and other forms of accommodations with the right facilities and amenities will be permitted to accommodate these visitors for the first 5 days of their visits. Throughout that period, they will have to stay on the premises of the hotel.


On the 5th day, visitors will be subjected to another Covid-19 PCR test, provided their test is negative, the visitor will be allowed to continue to enjoy their holiday as they would normally have. If the test results are positive, the visitor in question will be required to stay in a designated stay-safe hotel until cleared by the Seychelles Public Health Authority. The test will be free of charge.


The chairperson of the task force explained that for these selected markets, the only time visitors will not be allowed to enter is when the situation in that particular country is considered to be out of control and therefore the risk is too high.


Additional measures and procedures set by the PHA, which are subjected to change, can be viewed under the advisory available on the Tourism Department and Department of Health websites, which will be kept updated.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Vallée de Mai among the top 10% of global attractions

The Vallée de Mai wins 2020 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award for 2020, based on 2019 Traveller reviews. This latest recognition builds on past achievements as bestowed by TripAdvisor and other travel reviewing bodies. In light of this award the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) is already reflecting on World Tourism Day, celebrated on the 27th of September, and is heartened by the high reviews of visitors to the Vallée de Mai. 


In a communique, Kanika Soni, Tripadvisor’s Chief Commercial Officer stated that “Winners of the 2020 Travellers’ Choice Awards should be proud of this distinguished recognition. Although it’s been a challenging year for travel and hospitality, we want to celebrate our partners' achievements. Award winners are beloved for their exceptional service and quality. Not only are these winners well deserving, they are also a great source of inspiration for travellers as the world begins to venture out again.”


Although a catastrophic year for global tourism, with Seychelles particularly affected, such news is heartening and hopefully helps attract tourist to not only the Vallée de Mai, but Praslin and Seychelles as a whole. Added with the site’s new booking system, refusal to accept cash payments, enhanced health and safety measures and safe tourism label, SIF feels that Seychelles most visited natural attraction is better prepared to navigate these uncertain times.


In receiving the news, Vallée de Mai Site Manager, Marc Jean-Baptiste said, “This achievement reflects our team’s hard work and determination in protecting and managing this site’s outstanding universal values. It also shows the effort we are making to meet and exceed the expectations of our esteemed visitors while ensuring sustainability, as prioritised by ourselves and UNESCO. So in all it’s very rewarding to receive and share this endorsement that signifies the team spirit and clearly shows that we are on the right path”.
 
Catherina Meriton, Vallée de Mai’s Administration and Accounts Officer added “I am overjoyed by this major award that demonstrates outstanding team effort and diligence delivering an exceptional experience to our visitors. Chapeau to all of our team we have truly made Seychelles proud!”
 
SIF’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley stated “I am extremely proud of the Vallée de Mai team that is at the centre of winning such a prestigious award and to my knowledge this is a Seychelles first. At the same time we would like to share this award with our tourism partners in particular and I am convinced that the effects of the award will translate in more tourism opportunities for the Praslin community at large. This award is also testimony that in difficult times, as we are experiencing now, protected areas and their management have a crucial role to play in how to overcome crisis.  This is also an opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to all involved and the guidance received that resulted for the valley to be certified a safe tourism operation specifically the Public Health Authority and the Department of Tourism.”

Seychelles’ Third Tourism Festival to be celebrated this September 2020

The third Festival themed ‘Tourism: Back with Confidence’ has been announced in a press briefing held at the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Conference room at Botanical House by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Didier Dogley this Monday September 7, 2020.


The press brief, conducted in the presence of Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune and other members of the Tourism Festival Committee, presented the calendar of events organised to mark the annual tourism week in Seychelles.


The activities selected to commemorate this year’s Tourism Festival, which will be carried out from September 27, 2020 to September 29, 2020 will feature the most important events on the traditional calendar.


Correspondingly launched during the press briefing at Botanical, the F&B Masters Seychelles, the highlight of this third tourism festival - food and beverage competition- initiated by the Tourism Festival Committee chaired by Minister Dogley.


The calendar will also include a spiritual celebration, the honouring of the local tourism pioneers and a panel discussion conferring on the optimistic restart of tourism activities on the destination.

 
As part of the activities this year the calendar will see the launch of a national centralised tourism platform showcasing the local product listings across 12 categories initiated by Seychelles Tourism Board.


For this year’s edition, will be focused on building the confidence of our stakeholders in our local tourism industry besides raising awareness on the value and contribution of tourism as the main pillar of our economy.


Speaking about this year’s tourism festival, Minister Dogley informed the press that although the celebrations will be contained they would not be deprived of importance.


“This tourism festival could not have come at a more opportune time for our industry. As we continue to consolidate our efforts to relaunch our tourism industry and build on the progress we have made since we re-opened our international airport to commercial flights and foreign visitors we need to continue reminding ourselves of the importance of welcoming and providing our visitors with our unique creole hospitality while respecting the sanitary guidelines and procedures,” said Minister Dogley.


Minister Dogley explained that objective of this year’s organising committee is elevating Seychelles’ profile as a safe tourism destination.
On her part, the Principal Secretary for Tourism Mrs Anne Lafortune explained that the department felt it was important to keep the observance as previous years to uplift the morale of the local industry partners and workers.


The annual Tourism Week in Seychelles is an extension of the annual World Tourism Day celebrated on September 27 and initiated by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Wedding Bells in the Seychelles Islands

The flames of romance are still ablaze in the enchanting Seychelles Islands, where some 97 couples have walked down the aisle since August 1, 2020, and many others seeking the perfect occasion to tie the knot as tourism restarts in the destination.


Following the reopening of their International Airport, the destination has started to see its wedding market come back to life.


Whilst stranded in the tropical paradise, two couples, according to Registrar for Marriage from the Seychelles Department of Immigration and Civil Status, got married in June. Moreover, with the reopening of the airport, 7 weddings took place on Praslin and 90 destination weddings took place Mahé, Silhouette and Enchanted Island since August. Couples from all corners of the world still have their hearts set on Seychelles as their wedding location with many enquiries being made daily.


With romance ever-present in the air, the local authorities and trade are ensuring that no stone is left unturned when it comes to safety. Wedding service specialists and the related service providers of the islands are currently operating under new safety frameworks required under the new normal.


The destination’s pristine beaches, with its pearly white sand and turquoise waters, have proven to be a very popular location for weddings. Keeping this in mind, procedures have been put into place to ensure lovers can still have an intimate service whilst being kept safe. Minimum contact is to be made between wedding organisers and their clients through measures such as social distancing, use of disposable biodegradable items wherever applicable, no sharing of items and constant use of disinfectant and sanitation processes.


Additionally, the islands also have a reputation for their stunningly lavish hotels, which are also prominent wedding locations. Although ‘room weddings’ are not permitted, for the time being, the various certified hotels have various open areas, equally as exquisite as the ballrooms, available for couples to choose from. Clients will have to abide by the hotel’s health and safety regulations, which are reinforced by the Public Health Authority and the Department of Tourism. Similar to beach weddings, measures such as social distancing, sanitisation processes and proper disposal of used items have been put in place to ensure the safety of clients during their ceremony.


The encouraging numbers of weddings in the destination proves that it remains one of the most distinguished wedding destinations, still captivating the hearts of lovers across the globe.


With the world shrouded in chaos and uncertainty, the need to celebrate love and romance has deepened. What location could be ideal to start your lives together than the islands rumoured to be home to the Garden of Eden, where all life began.