Tourism 2023: Seychelles aims to maintain arrival figures at 330,000 visitors
The Seychelles islands (Gerard Larose)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' tourism department is seeking to maintain arrivals at 330,000 visitors in the face of forecasted challenges in 2023, whilst the tourism minister spoke strongly about the need for tourism establishments and services to maintain a consistent standard.
These were outlined during the 2022 Tourism Annual Performance Review meeting held on Thursday. The department presented the outcome of the implementation of its 2022 strategic plan as well as setting the tone for 2023.
In her opening speech at the event, the tourism principal secretary, Sherin Francis, outlined that "with all the challenges we are faced with for 2023, it would be an achievement if we can at least maintain the 2022 visitor arrival figures."
"Economic recession has hit the whole of Europe - some more than others - and inflation has been at an all-time highest ever recorded. Many countries have had to restructure sovereign debts. The irrational travel behaviors in 2022 are expected to normalise this year and household savings have gone back to a normal level, unused vouchers have been redeemed and people, in general, are becoming more concerned over the lingering effect of the economic troubles," said Francis.
She further outlined that there is no evidence that the Russian market, which was a major share of Seychelles' visitors during the first three months of 2022, will rebound back to that level in 2023. Looking at the benchmark airfares prices of Seychelles, against competitors in the region, she observed that "our prices from any of our source markets are amongst the highest, which makes us very uncompetitive."
"We have to be realistic that this will affect our performance for this year. We noticed that the average daily rates of rooms, especially amongst the larger properties, and the gaps between our competitors and us keeps increasing. Supported by aggressive marketing drive by these same competitors, this forms part of our pessimism for 2023. Therefore, maintaining our 2022 performance will be an achievement," said Francis.
For 2023, the department is looking to further shift its focus from tourism arrival numbers to the economic revenue coming from the industry.
"For 2023 we are aiming to hit the $1 billion mark," said Francis.
This will mean that each visitor will have to spend on average $300 per day.
To achieve this, partners in the industry are being asked to entice visitors to do so by providing more quality services, having add-ons, paying more attention to their clients, and diversifying products.
"We aim to see more cultural, community-based, and eco-tourism products this year. This is very critical as it will directly impact on the tourism earning for this year and the year that follows," said Francis.
Another objective for the year is to improve safety and security, which has the department eyeing a new landing page and newsletter for destination safety and security amongst a handful of other projects to support this objective.
The Minister for Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, outlined that this year his ministry will be setting up a Small Establishment Enhancement Programme (SEEP) to work with small establishments that do not meet the industry's standards.
"There are many establishments that have challenges, and we cannot afford to have substandard establishments in the tourism industry of this country. We will try our best to work with you, but if at the end of the day, we do not see any progress, that establishment will not be able to remain open. We will have to take drastic measures. This applies to the other partners in the trade, be they taxi drivers, tour guides, divers, and so forth," said Radegonde.
He also called on each individual to recognise that "everybody in this country should understand the importance of the tourism industry for the country, understand that we need to work together, and that tourism is everybody’s business."