New ideas for diversification discussed at Seychelles Tourism Forum
Participants received more information on the importance develop sustainable strategies. (Gerard Larose)
Diversification of tourism markets, segments and products, and the need to have a sustainable tourism sector, were the top topics of discussion at the Seychelles' Tourism Marketing Forum for 2023.
Present at the Tourism Marketing Forum held on Tuesday, were over 120 partners from the tourism sector - representatives of small and large accommodation establishments, boat charters, destination management companies (DMCs), and tour guides, among others. Also present were representatives from the tourism department.
This is the first year that the marketing meeting of the department takes this format, where the partners of the industry were engaged in deeper discussions. Also present were two international experts from the Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA),
The principal secretary for tourism, Sherin Francis, said, "We have seen best practices when attending international events that sometimes we need someone to help us with the thinking process when approaching a specific theme."
Francis added that "the first presentation allowed us to learn that there are certain areas that we do not talk about enough and the first panel discussion focused mostly on diversification. That's diversification of the market, segments, and products. There have been a lot of discussions on repeat clientele and how to valorise them."
In this segment, participants learned more about the importance of diversification, planting the seed for sustainable long-term results, and being inclusive.
Through the discussions on sustainable and conscious tourism approaches, participants received more information on the importance develop sustainable strategies and maximize from different markets.
One of the experts from ATTA, Hannah Pearson, talked about the importance of thinking through a destination's tourism strategy to make sure that it is sustainable both from an economic point of view, but also in the general climate and environmental aspect.
"With the right strategy from the beginning, it's a lot easier and brings a lot more benefits to everybody. So it's really exploring what tour operators can do towards sustainability, and that it's a journey. More and more, travellers are looking for sustainable tourism options nowadays," said Pearson.
Before her working session, the other expert, Jullian Dickens, outlined that there is a need to take a more quality over quantity approach to experience development.
During her presentation, participants learned more about what can be achieved through collaboration and working together, and ways to improve or enhance the existing experiences or products on offer.
"We looked at existing experiences or products that they have on the islands and how to incorporate the concepts of transformation in those experiences that exist now, or new experiences or itineraries," said Dickens.
Tourism is the top economic contributor for Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.