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Fostering cruise and super-yacht tourism in Seychelles

1boatAs part of its cruise ship strategies, the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) envisages starting a series of dialogues in order to engage with local partners with a view to forming a Seychelles Cruise Club that would have as its mandate to promote the town of Victoria.

Partners will include the tourism department, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), the police department, the Mayor of Victoria and other public offices, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), destination management companies (DMCs), craft vendors, taxi operators, restaurants, hotels, boat charter companies and shop keepers.

The main aim of the Seychelles Cruise Club is to promote the town of Victoria, through respective activities, as an active and lively cruise and super-yacht tourism city.

2boatIt must be noted that cruise clubs exist in several cities world-wide and they create win-win situations whereby club members generate significant revenue and other economic benefits by selling their goods and services to the cruise visitors who are able to appreciate and enjoy what the town, city and country have to offer to them.

In addition to local partners, SPA is now also starting discussions with the respective offices to develop strategies to promote cruise and super-yacht tourism between countries in the northern Indian Ocean including India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives in order to try to gradually and systematically integrate and connect the Southern, Eastern and Northern cruise circuits through Port Victoria, Seychelles.

With the continued support of the local tourism partners and stakeholders including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, STB, DMCs, shipping agents and people of Seychelles who have an important role to play in attracting visitors to our country, the stage is set for greater cruise success for the country and Port Victoria in future.

It is with this aim in mind that SPA hosted the Port Management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) cruise tourism strategy conference in Seychelles between June 14-17, 2016. Under the banner of the Cruise Indian Ocean Association (CIOA) — which is itself a sub-association of PMAESA — the conference was run under the theme ‘Creating Strategies for Sustainable Cruise Tourism in the Indian Ocean’.

3boatSeychelles hosting the conference is testimony to the country’s recognition as a tourism destination and Port Victoria as a vital link on the cruise ship circuit. It must also be noted that SPA has been relentless in its promotion of cruise and super-yacht tourism in the region with the support of other government and private partners and stakeholders. With the success in stability being achieved in the maritime security arena and the region gradually re-gaining the confidence of cruise ship operators and super-yachts, the SPA is of the view that the time is right to engage the CIOA to collaborate, network and strategise in order to re-assess and review the way forward so as to attract new and more cruise liners and super-yachts and set new cruise targets for the Indian Ocean and PMAESA region.

Although it is recognised that the government is playing a leading role with its international partners and stakeholders in the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean, the legacy of the past issues related to maritime security continues to somewhat dampen enthusiasm among some cruise operators and super-yachts in the region. There is therefore the need for even greater vigour and combined promotional and marketing effort and resources by PMAESA-CIOA, APIOI and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to overcome this negative perception of the maritime security situation in the Indian Ocean – which will not be totally achieved in the short term. Nonetheless, the number of port calls by cruise ships, including by some record-setting ones and by some cruise liners that had remained faithful to the region in the past despite challenging times, has been increasing steadily over the last two to three years which is a sign that the efforts are bearing fruit and that the region is indeed bouncing back in the cruise and super-yacht business.

Source : Seychelles NATION

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