Seychelles reaches 100,000 tourists, but very late in year; Israelis propping up industry
Air Seychelles resumed its flights to Tel Aviv, Israel, on November 16. (Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has reached a significant milestone in visitor arrivals -- 100,000 in 2020 -- albeit very late in the year due to the COVID-19 travel lockdowns.
In a bit of good news, a survey by the Seychelles Tourism Board found that 100 percent of respondents said they felt safe in Seychelles during the pandemic.
During the week that ended on November 29, the total visitor arrivals to the Indian Ocean archipelago reached 102,246 – a 71 percent drop compared to the same period in 2019.
According to data from the Seychelles' National Bureau of Statistics, Israel is the leading market for tourist arrivals, making up 75 percent of the total arrival for the latest week. It is followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Germany with nine percent and five percent respectively.
Air Seychelles resumed its flights to Tel Aviv, Israel, on November 16 and according to Israel Hayom, another airline - El Al Israel Airlines - will start operating three weekly flights to Seychelles as December 9.
In a recent statement, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Sherin Francis, said the predicting trends has become difficult as travellers are booking very close to their travel date.
"The last quarter of 2019 alone, Seychelles received 104,079 visitors; therefore, the numbers presented this year may seem dull in comparison. However, looking at the bigger picture, these same figures are monumental for the local tourism industry. At current, our marketing approach is flexible and in constant evolution. We are doing so without deviating from the very crucial goal of keeping our people safe," said Francis.
As the main marketing body for the islands, STB has been advocating for safe travel through various campaigns. This has also been done through the board's participation in virtual summits and webinars, addressing the safety of travellers and tourism recovery.
"Safe tourism is not an option for Seychelles but rather a must. This is not only for the safety of our people but also especially for the restart of our industry, which was, until we were hit by the pandemic, a flourishing one. Our commitments for safe tourism have been ably supported by the various partners on the tourism task force," said Francis.
The STB's Strategic Planning and Market Intelligence Team in collaboration with Hilton Northolme recently conducted a small-scale pilot study to learn more about client's sentiments regarding the safety of visitors in the country.
According to a press release from STB, "the findings revealed several key information as 100 percent of respondents stated that they felt safe being in Seychelles during this time, with 81 percent claiming to feel very safe. Furthermore, 100 percent of respondents claimed that they would recommend travelling to Seychelles during this time and 17 percent responded that they came to Seychelles to seek refuge from the pandemic."
"The data collected convey growing confidence in the travel industry especially in the Seychelles where the local authorities have united to implement extensive safety measures whereby the low infection numbers have created a sense of security in the minds of travellers. The study is expected to be repeated with a bigger sampling," the press release continued.