With eye on its most important market, tourism leaders in Seychelles study European standards, expectations
Europe is the most important market Seychelles in terms of visitor arrivals. (Patrick Valmont, Air Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Tourism partners in Seychelles learned more about European standards, expectations and laws in a workshop Tuesday that focused on the island nation's most important market of sunshine-seeking holiday-makers.
The ‘European Laws and Expectation Workshop’ was organised by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) in partnership with SeyVillas at Eden Bleu. As an online tour operator in the European market since 2011, SeyVillas shared details aimed at keeping tourism professional abreast of new practices within the European market.
Representatives of tourism establishments and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) were guided on how to improve quality standards, the expectation of European clients, how to avoid complaints and handle unsatisfied clients.
Cancellation policy, complaints and construction work, double bookings, changes of conditions after a booking and data privacy were some of the European regulations touched upon.
“The workshop covered a topic of demand within the industry and which has important elements that people within our industry need to be aware of. Nowadays, ignorance of the law is not an excuse when something happens,” said Sherin Francis, STB’s chief executive.
During the workshop, the managing director of SeyVillas, Julian Grupp, explained that though Seychelles is not part of the European jurisdiction, European laws impact the island nation indirectly through tour operators.
|Participants were guided on how to improve quality standards, the expectation of European clients, how to avoid complaints and handle unsatisfied clients. (Joena Meme) Photo License: CC-BY|
He said most clients hailing from Europe make their booking through tour operators, and with this in mind, “the tour operations in the contracts with the properties are regulating this kind of condition.”
“In terms of warranty and liability, they refer to this regulation when it comes to working together,” said Grupp.
The workshop comprised of an educational part about the new provisions within European travel law and the importance of managing expectations and complaints of clients.
“We felt that it is important for the people within the industry to understand the changes that have taken place and the implications. This has to do greatly with complaints being brought forward by clients, to know and understand what they can and cannot claim,” said Francis.
She added that it is also important for establishments to have a system in place that deals with knowing and managing expectations of their clients while making reservations.
It was also outlined that there must also be a system in place to deal with complaints and feedback of clients even before they leave an establishment.
Nicole St. Ange, the Public Relations manager at Mason’s Travel, a local Destination Management Company, said that changes made last year within the European law reflect on local tour operators.
“It is quite concerning because there are so many things that are out of your control. Prevention is key, but the number one step is being informed about it and this is a great platform that STB and SeyVillas have organised because it allows everyone to know exactly where they stand,” said St. Ange.
A workshop session for trade partners on Praslin and La Digue – the second and third most populated islands of Seychelles, respectively - will be held on June 13 on Praslin. After the sessions are complete, information from the workshops will be available on the STB website.
Tourism is the top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.