Safe, affordable and accessible – a comprehensive new approach devised for Seychelles tourism
Tourist served a refreshing drink on the beach on the Seychelles island of Denis (Gerard Larose, STB) Repositioning Seychelles as the main product and marketing it as a serious, safe, enjoyable tourist destination with good service, offering value for money is part of a new marketing strategy for the archipelago's tourism industry.
(Seychelles News Agency) - A tripartite committee comprising of three key ministries in Seychelles, the ministry for tourism and culture, the ministry of home affairs and transport and the ministry of finance, trade and investment will be working to implement a new marketing strategy for tourism in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St Ange, met with members of the local press yesterday to outline some of the main points of the new marketing strategy, which he explained would now be focused on marketing the Seychelles more holistically as a destination.
“Seychelles incorporated is the product that we sell,” explained Minister St. Ange. “We are selling what we are, what we do, what we eat, what we enjoy, our cleanliness as well as the safety label – a place where people can come back to because they’ve enjoyed it so much.”
“Today we are looking at it as a country not just tourism board fighting to sell Seychelles by itself and the ministry pushing the policies behind it – this is the new approach.”
Repositioning Seychelles as the main product and marketing it as a serious, safe, enjoyable tourist destination with good service, offering value for money, listening to the private sector’s needs and tapping into key niche markets were just a few of the main issues to be addressed by the new strategy.
A carefully-revised approach
St Ange told the press that the country’s new marketing strategy would focus more on regular advertising in well-known publications based in key source markets rather than running riskier, costlier television advertisements.
A tourism marketing expert is also expected to join the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and the committee to assess the marketing methods currently being utilised and refocus Seychelles as a brand.
The committee will also compare the cost of visiting Seychelles in comparison with similar competitors such as Mauritius, look at ways of bringing more Seychellois people into the front lines of the industry and investigate how more earnings from the tourism trade could be re-invested back into the local economy.
Push for better numbers
The committee was brought together by Seychelles President James Michel to boost the prime pillar of the island nation’s economy which has recently seen a decline in visitor arrivals, particularly from its main European markets.
According to recent statistics, the Seychelles tourism industry projection is leaning towards a 5 percent decline in visitor arrivals and a 3 percent drop in earnings from the industry compared to last year.
The new strategy is therefore aimed at remedying these projections with a focus on key markets; that of Germany, France China India South Africa and GCC- Gulf Cooperation Council Countries.
Efforts have been intensified in recent months to highlight challenges facing the tourism industry and finding ways to address the issues.
The tripartite committee comes a few months after a multi-sectoral tourism meeting was initiated bringing together private sector representatives involved in the tourism trade, the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and government officials. The monthly meeting held for the first time in July this year is chaired by Vice President Danny Faure.
More competitive on air access
Last week St Ange headed a delegation on a one-day working visit to Paris in France, Seychelles’ traditional top tourist market. Seychelles has recently experienced a 13 percent drop in arrivals from France.
The minister, accompanied by the Chairman of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority Captain David Savy and the CEO of Air Seychelles, Manoj Papa, met with key tour operators and members of the French press to discuss issues affecting tourism arrivals from France – including the demand for non-stop flights between the two countries.
It was thereafter announced that Air Seychelles would with immediate effect operate its twice-weekly flights between Paris and Seychelles with only a technical stop in Abu Dhabi where passengers can now remain on board the plane during the stop. This concession will also apply to flights to Hong Kong.
Highlighting the need of air access which he described as important for tourism to work St Ange also announced during the press interview yesterday that German-based airline Condor may soon operate a second flight to Seychelles. Condor is currently the only airline operating non-stop flights to Europe.
According to St Ange, these measures are what he terms the first steps towards trying to become more competitive with other luxury island destinations.
The strategy for the South African market, which has also seen a drop-off in the occupancy level of its thrice-weekly flights to Johannesburg, will also be revisited, and in the coming months, tourism delegations will be heading to China and India to do the same.
“We need to deal with the tour operators on a one-to-one basis and continue to bring travel agents into our country. Tour operators include us in their promotions but at the end of the day it’s the travel agents who sell our destination,” explained St Ange.
A more varied offering
According to the minister, another key point that emerged from the development of the strategy was the need for Seychelles to be able to attract niche markets such as sports lovers, family vacationers as well as ensuring that first-time tourists come back again for repeat visits.
The minister also reiterated the need to focus on the safety of tourists from petty crime, saying that everyone had a role to play in ensuring the sustainable development of the tourism industry.