The first public-private tourism strategy meeting to build Seychelles’ presence in China and India was chaired by Joël Morgan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport and was attended by ministers Jean-Paul Adam and Alain St Ange.
Held at the offices of the Seychelles Tourism Board at Espace building, the meeting was attended by representatives of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Air Seychelles, Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCCA), STB and tourism partners. It discussed Seychelles’ tourism policies regarding China and what Seychelles as a country wants to achieve from the Chinese market and the number of Chinese visitors the country is targeting.
Private sector representatives felt it was fundamental that these points are tabled and a common consensus reached in a bid to harmonise and for Seychelles to build a cohesive approach for its presence on the Chinese market.
Seychelles, which has long been dependent on its major source market – Europe – that brings 66% of business to the country, is more than ever convinced it needs to diversify and remain robust to withstand politico-economic shocks from its European market.
China brought 13,000 visitors to Seychelles in 2014. Today China’s estimated population is over 1.3 billion. The tourism strategy meeting achieved consensus that Seychelles does not need a huge number of Chinese visitors, but enough traffic to fill its flights and the 11,000 beds in the country.
Representatives of the tourism strategy meeting also agreed that the time has come for Seychelles to move away from the policy of working to attract Chinese chartered flights but to instead prepare to launch direct non-stop regular weekly flights and work across the board with Chinese tour operators to sell the destination and the region. It was highlighted with one weekly regular flight, Seychelles can bring 10,000 Chinese visitors annually.
Closing the Chinese market chapter, Air Seychelles announced it strategy to launch its winter schedule flights to China during the course of the year.
On the Indian market, representatives of the tourism strategy meeting agreed that Seychelles should lure more Indian holiday makers to its shores and increase the visitor arrival figures two-fold on this market.
Seychelles is receiving about 6,000 travellers annually from India and this despite the four direct weekly flights.
One major point that came out in the discussions on the Indian market is the need to raise Seychelles’ visibility on this market at the same time as the current applicable airfare being offered by Air Seychelles on this market is reviewed.
It was agreed the Indian strategy should target honeymooners which represent 90% of the market segment for Seychelles.
Seychelles, said members of the tourism strategic meeting, should also define a key message which will drive marketing of the destination in India.
The tourism strategic meeting was a recommendation of Vice-President Danny Faure at the last multi-sectoral meeting held on Friday July 3.