Seychelles opens doors to Middle-Eastern wedding tourism
North island, Seychelles. Home to an exclusive private island resort, where HRH the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine, spent their honeymoon in 2011 (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board).
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles islands, a well-known honeymoon destination for Europeans, is seeking new markets for wedding and honeymoon travellers from the Middle East.
According to a press statement from the Seychelles Tourism Board, the Indian Ocean country became a silver sponsor at the Bride Abu Dhabi show from 12 to 15 February in the United Arab Emirates, which in its eleventh year attracted some 16,000 visitors, not only Emirati nationals, but also a number of expatriates and visitors from all over the world looking for the perfect wedding and honeymoon destination.
The Middle Eastern bridal expo offered the opportunity to interest potential honeymooners, brides-to-be and leisure visitors in the Seychelles islands. This year, the event hosted over 250 local, regional and international exhibitors all vying with each other to get a share of the ever-growing Middle Eastern market for lavish weddings.
With over 30,000 nuptials taking place every year in the UAE, and the cost of wedding parties ranging between US$ 14,000-140,000, the country is an attractive source market for Seychelles wedding and honeymoon tourism, as it is only 4 hours flight away, with daily connections with Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
For Middle Eastern couples of the Islamic faith, weddings in the Seychelles are possible, since there are two mosques in the country. A new mosque opened last year in a project sponsored by Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayid Al Nahyan, son of United Arab Emirates (UAE) ruler and President of the UAE President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan bin Khalifa. Another mosque in the centre of the capital Victoria, which was the site of an older mosque, was constructed with the sponsorship of Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahayan from the UAE.
The UAE President also has a palace on the Seychelles' main island of Mahé, which has become known as one of his favourite holiday destinations. Seychelles has seen an increase of visitors from the UAE, who are in 5th place in last year's visitors arrivals.
According to the National Bureau of Statistic, Seychelles has had an average of 1,044 marriages registered annually by visitors to the country in the last five years, which accounts for more than the number of marriages taking place between Seychellois nationals, which is an average of 480 a year.
In 2013, 230,272 tourists visited Seychelles in 2013 compared to 208,034 in 2012.
Top 8 Visitors to Seychelles in 2013 - NSB Statistics
|6. South Africa||13,212|
|7. UK & Eire||12,514|