The Luxurious Allure of Seychelles Reflected in Visitor’s Arrival Numbers

The Luxurious Allure of Seychelles Reflected in Visitor’s Arrival Numbers

The resumption of tourism is off to a good start for the tropical paradise of the Seychelles Islands once again as the destination opened their International airport for chartered and private flights in June 2020 and reopened to scheduled flights on August 1, 2020. 

Hidden in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the tropical islands has made a name for itself amongst travellers even before the global pandemic. 

Speaking to the national broadcaster Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation about the tourism performance since January, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis stated that by the end of March the country had recorded around 88,000 visitors, which confirmed the predictions of the 3-4% increase made at the beginning of 2020. 

On the way to a slow yet steady recovery from the impact of the worldwide situation, the destination has seen 2,359 visitors from June to August 23, according to the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Although the destination has always welcomed a wide variety of tourists, one of its popular segments remain luxury travellers, which were predicted to rebound fasterduring this period. 

In July alone, the islands welcomed 475 visitors through chartered private flights with 87% from UAE, followed by Russia with 4% and 3% from the UK. 

With the return of scheduled flights from 1st to 23rd August 2020, the country recorded 1,754visitors arriving to its shores. According to the NBS figures there were a total number of 1,040 passengers from scheduled flights, and the number of passengers from private flights were 714. There were in total 41 private planes landing in Seychelles for that same period. 

Although the figures may seem smaller compared to the same period for 2019, with a recorded drop of 63% in comparison to the same period, the small but constant amount of visitors arriving is a great step in building the confidence of global travellers and also shows that safe travel is possible. It also illustrates that Seychelles remains in the minds and hearts of many tourists. To date, 91,402 visitors have travelled to the islands for the year 2020.

The STB Chief Executive further explained that throughout the various surveys conducted by the Market Intelligence team of the STB, the trends and growing travel segment being witnessed was expected.

“Given the current global situation, the numbers are very encouraging. This shows that our communications are reaching its intended target. We hope that as restrictions are relaxed and should the global situation not worsen, that the arrivals figures will improve,” said Mrs Francis.

 

Mrs Francis further mentions that the tourism board has been continuously advocating safe tourism, a strategy which Seychelles adopted for the restart of tourism

 

Seychelles is renowned for its very niche type of market, remaining a favourite amongst both luxury and nature travellers with its secluded location and ample activities centred on the destination's pristine features. Mass tourism is not something that is being promoted.

 

In fact, the allure of the destination has been magnified with the increased desire of travellers to escape and reconnect with their loved ones and with nature. The islands’ lush rainforests, turquoise waters, vibrant fauna and remarkable landscape manages to capture all who disembarks on its shores. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seychelles joins the Rebuilding Travel conversation with travel specialist Juergen Steinmetz.

The global virtual event, which is part of the Rebuilding Travel movement, was held on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, and attended by tourism professionals from across the globe. The discussions held via the zoom network was focused on the restart of tourism in Seychelles and hosted by Juergen Steinmetz.


The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Didier Dogley, Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA) chairperson, Mrs Sybille Cardon and Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis represented the key stakeholders in the local industry.


During the discussions, Minister Dogley, provided a brief overview of the how the destination is handling the restart of tourism since June 1, 2020, when the country opened its borders for private jets and private charters to August 1, 2020, when the first commercial flight landed at the Seychelles international airport of Pointe Larue.


He further commented on the efforts made by the industry to implement the new safety guidelines endorsed by the Department of Health as part of the new operational procedures for the tourism industry.


Additionally, Minister Dogley highlighted the importance of sharing the Seychelles’ experience with regional destinations and even other islands. “For me sharing and partnering with other islands states is excellent because as far as COVID is concerned, it has taught us that we need to work together to share experiences and knowledge as we go along so that we can identify the bright spots and also how we can overcome the challenges COVID has put in our way.”


Mrs Francis, STB Chief Executive reiterated the destination’s commitment towards Safe Tourism. She explained that the safety guidelines put in place in Seychelles reflects the efforts of the industry to rebuild the confidence of potential visitors.


“Advocating for safe tourism is the best way we can help our industry now; this is why the STB is urging other destinations and other partners including airlines to have mandatory testing policies amongst their operational procedures. Based on the trends we have seen developing our team has judged it essential for the destination to work towards the creation of a safe bubble for its survival,” said Mrs Francis.


On her part, Mrs Sybille Cardon commented on the indispensable assistance provided by the Tourism related businesses from the private sector.


Talking about the future of Seychelles’ tourism industry, Mrs Francis emphasised on the tourism board’s marketing strategy to increase the visibility of the destination through digital marketing and constant engaging of trade partners around the world through virtual platforms.


Mrs Francis reassured the participants of the webinar of the authenticity of the Seychelles experience in the face of the new normal. Although they will now have to adhere to new measures under the guidance of the concerned authorities, visitors will still be able to fully immerse themselves in the offerings of the lush, tropical sanctuary of the Seychelles Islands.

 

Seychelles Tourism Board and Visa sign Memorandum of Understanding to accelerate the growth of Seychelles Tourism

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote Seychelles as a destination of choice for tourists around the world.

 

The MOU is aimed at enabling the tourism board to strengthen its marketing strategy globally through the promotion of electronic payments technology and services in Seychelles.

 

The signing of the agreement, a significant step in the longstanding relationship between STB and Visa is a testimony to the Board’s continuous endeavour to explore the most effective ways to market the destination. 

 

The MOU will support STB’s strategy of adopting a much more targeted approach when communicating with potential visitors and provide valuable feedback to local stakeholders including the Central Bank of Seychelles, which reports on tourism earnings in Seychelles. 

 

As part of its engagement towards the MOU with Visa, the STB has made a commitment to continue to encourage local establishments to adopt electronic payments in line with the National Fintech Strategy of Seychelles. 

 

Mrs Sherin Francis, STB Chief Executive, recognised the great opportunity that this agreement will provide to the tourism industry in Seychelles in terms of accurate client’s information regarding trends and preferences. 

 

“It is vital that our local establishments, regardless of size, look towards being able to accept electronic payments as this will facilitate transactions for our visitors. This is also in line with the government of Seychelles call to citizens to embrace electronic payments to avoid unnecessary contact with cash as the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic," said Mrs Francis. 

 

Visa’s mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. 

 

Visa’s Vice President for Government Engagement in Central Europe, Middle East and East Africa, Mr Salvador Galindo Perez said, “While the ongoing pandemic has caused significant upheaval in the global travel and tourism industry, we must recognize that we should be prepared to support the needs of consumers when things improve. We have seen that there is an increased demand for contactless and digital payments not just from a seamless payment perspective, but also because of the safety and hygiene factors they represent. We also know that accepting digital payment is beneficial to local merchants as visitors do spend more when they don’t have to only rely on cash. As Visa has always been a strong partner of the travel and tourism industry, we are looking forward to sharing our expertise in the hope that together we can support the local tourism economy in their recovery efforts, alongside providing inbound and local tourists with secure, faster and more convenient ways to pay.”

 

Seychelles boasts lush tropical vegetation, powder-white beaches and clear turquoise waters, the Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago off the east coast of the African continent well known for its paradise-like features. With tourism as the main pillar of its economy, the new partnership will complement the STB’s efforts in fine-tuning its targeted marketing strategies. 

 

With the restart of tourism in Seychelles, the local stakeholders on the island are determined to make travel safe and seamless for all while retaining the Creole charm visitors desire. 

 

Seychelles launches Safe Tourism Certification label for industry service providers

Walking the talk of safe tourism for the destination, the tourism taskforce has developed a consortium-based certification system to ensure ‘safe’ experience for visitors while on holiday in Seychelles. 

The specially designed stamp, immediately recognisable by the green-ticked badge, will allow guests to recognise businesses in Seychelles, which have adopted the health and hygiene standardised protocols set by the local public health authority. 

The safe tourism certificates, which are being issued by the Department of Tourism and endorsed by the Public Health Authority, provides the seal of approval for service providers for operation.

Mrs Anne Lafortune, Principal Secretary for Tourism pointed out that the certification is an important component of the operations of the industry providers today. 

“Our local businesses have been very forthcoming in helping us implement the new sanitary regulations the industry will have to abide by for operations. We are satisfied to see their interest to comply with this new component of tourism," said PS. Lafortune.

The requirements for certification, meticulously discussed by the representatives of the tourism industry, incorporates strict sanitary norms requested by the local public health authority and important industry etiquette compulsory for operations under the ‘new normal’.

The certification assures visitors and guests that local service providers operating within the tourism industry and other related businesses are providing the best possible practices to ensure their comfort and safety. 

Speaking about the safety certification label, MrsSherin Francis Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive Officer mentioned that the certification label is founded on the significant elements people are looking for before making plans to travel. 

 

“Safety has become an even more important prerequisite for travel. As a destination restarting its tourism industry, our responsibilities vis-à-vis our guests and local service providers are immense. We have been advocating for standard practices to be adopted across the globe and we are proud to see the implementations of these practices locally,” said Mrs Francis. 

Visitors planning on a holiday in Seychelles are encouraged to book their accommodation and leisure activities through safe tourism certified service providers.

To date, 204 accommodation establishments have been certified under the Safe Tourism Certification label; service providers including restaurants, tour operators, tour guides, and transportation providers will be able to use the stamp once the health and hygiene requirements defined by Public Health Authority have been implemented.

Seychelles tourism making a comeback

Seychelles takes a step forward inviting guests for a safe travel experience as travel slowly takes a fresh start in many countries around the world.

After several months of absence at the Seychelles International airport of Pointe Larue, Emirates Airlines is the first commercial airline to land at the paradise holiday destination on Saturday, August 1, 2020.

Etihad Airways and Ethiopian Airlines are listed as the two other airlines to have confirmed the start of their operations to Seychelles in the coming week.

The Emirates flight, carrying on its board 167 passengers received a warm welcome with a symbolic water cannon salute upon its arrival.

Present at the airport to ensure the smooth running of the operations for the occasion was the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr Didier Dogley; the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune; CEO of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Garry Albert, Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Sherin Francis.

Minister Dogley mentioned that the day crowns long weeks of intensive planning by the Ministry for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, its affiliated agencies, other government departments and tourism stakeholders in the private sector for effective safe practices.

The standard procedures endorsed by the local Public Health Authority and adopted by the local tourism industry are setting the seal on the destination's preparedness to welcome visitors.

"It is a great moment for us today given there has been a lot of work done in preparation for the first commercial flight landing again on our shore after months of absence. The smooth but slightly altered operations today at the airport represents what we have been advocating, that is safe tourism for Seychelles, which also means that all of us will have to be even more vigilant in our work. Our approach has been one of prudence through the selection of visitors from lower-risk countries with additional safeguards in place to ensure we rebuild better and stronger," said Minister Dogley.

On her part the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Mrs Anne Lafortune said," This is the necessary first step for Seychelles towards recovery. We are happy to see that tourists have responded positively and are as enthusiastic as we are to restart tourism."

Reiterating the destination's commitment to safe tourism, Mrs Sherin Francis mentioned that Seychelles has been very proactive on various international forums in advocating the concept.

"As a tourism board, we have been promoting safe tourism and have been advocating for standardized practices throughout the travel industry. With the restart of international tourism, new travel trends and terminologies are emerging such as revenge travel. Given it is summer in most of our prominent markets we hope to see people eager to experience the world again," said the STB Chief Executive.

Tourists coming from the list of 'permitted' countries will be allowed to enter Seychelles for a holiday to enjoy activities such as sightseeing and tours, island hopping and excursions. Seychelles is one amongst the first destinations to open for tourism in the Indian Ocean with a promise of safe tourism within a flexible environment.

The Seychelles Islands …Your safe summer getaway

The Seychelles Islands remains one of the world's safest destinations to travel to right now, as travel slowly starts to get underway in Europe.

Seychelles is amongst several small nations least affected by the pandemic and is now ready to start welcoming guests back as from 1st August.

Three major airlines – Emirates, Etihad and Ethiopian – have scheduled flights to Seychelles starting August and more airlines will add the islands to their networks in September and October.

According to latest figures released by the island's Public Health Authority on Thursday afternoon, there are only 39 active cases in the country presently. No Covid-related deaths have been recorded to date.

The country managed to handle the virus with much grit from the onset, registering only 11 cases by end of May. Though tourism was down, the country's second economic pillar, fisheries was still in operation and a number of seafarers from Western Africa tested positive upon arrival in Seychelles for crew change last month.

All the new 'imported' cases were isolated on their fleet and there has been no community transmission to date. Six Seychellois workers who had contact with the fishing crew and tested positive have since recovered. All the current active cases (39) remain quarantined on their boats, with no contact with the mainland.

Seychelles thus currently makes one of the best and safest destinations in the world to visit this summer, with strong measures in place to curb any potential spread of the virus amongst its guests.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs. Sherin Francis, has sent a strong message to the world, telling travelers that "Seychelles has fared very well with the number of cases we had and the country was quick to react with bold and necessary measures.

We are now ready to start welcoming back our visitors and we look forward to hosting them in a safe and very flexible environment".

Mrs. Francis added that the destination has implemented specific protocols and guidelines concerning travelling to the country and hygiene in places like the airports and hotels. She also urged visitors to maintain best practices during their travels and stay in Seychelles.

"After months of quarantine and as the summer gets underway in most of our prominent markets, people are desperate to experience the world again. Seychelles is relatively low risk and we will offer the same sense of adventure, though in a slightly adapted environment," she said.

Minister Didier Dogley, the Islands' Minister for tourism reassured the visitors that their safety comes first, "A lot of work has been done to ensure visitors' stay in the destination is a safe one and we want them to enjoy their holidays as they would normally do. In the unfortunate circumstances that they do get sick, the country is equipped to give them the necessary care they would require"

Tourists coming from an approved list of Low and Moderate risk countries will be allowed to enter the Seychelles. A negative Covid-19 PCR test taken 72 hours before boarding the plane is the foremost requirement for travel to the Indian Ocean islands.

Though visitors will have to minimize their interactions with the local community, they will be able to carry on with their holiday activities such as sightseeing and tours, island hopping and excursions.

Some 96 hotels on different islands have already been accredited and received the stamp to start welcoming guests, as they meet the required health and safety checks. These lodgings range from self-caterings to five-stars and island resorts. Other service providers have also been certified for operations.