France is back as the Seychelles main tourism market
Tourist couple walking on the beach on the Seychelles island of Denis (Gerard Larose, STB)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Following a drop last year, France that has long been the main tourism market for Seychelles is back in the number one spot which Germany had taken over in 2014.
According to latest statistics published by the archipelago’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 3,387 French tourists have visited Seychelles up to the week ending February 8, 2015.
Germany is currently in second place with 2,861 visitors.
Tourism remains the main pillar of the Seychelles economy and the arrival figure of 23,030 visitors so far is 1 percent above that recorded for the same period in 2014.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Sherin Naiken has attributed the favourable trend in visitor arrivals from the European markets, including France, to the continuous efforts of the island nation’s tourism authorities when the figures were down last year.
“We have done a lot of work with our partners to try and revitalise our main markets especially in Europe,” Naiken told SNA.
"It is much too early to predict how this year will turn out to be, but things are looking positive for Seychelles according to forward bookings for the next two months.”
Air access has also been attributed as one of the factors that have led to the positive arrival figures so far.
The three main airlines flying in visitors to Seychelles are the archipelago’s national airline, Air Seychelles, its Strategic partner UAE’s Etihad Airways as well as Dubai-based Emirates Airline. There is also Ethiopian Airlines that has been offering its international passengers onward connections to the Seychelles main island of Mahé from Addis Ababa.
"Since October last year, we have had better connections to Seychelles ... this has resulted in an increase in the number of tourists coming to the island each week and the trend has continued to date," said Naiken.
"You can see for example that the Italian market has been doing well since the beginning of the year, because there are good connections and Ethiopian Airlines makes three flights a week to Seychelles which is also a good connection for Chinese tourists," she added.
However, latest figures published by NBS has shown a 71 percent decrease in the number of Chinese tourists to Seychelles since the beginning of the year compared to last year.
The year 2014 saw a record number of 13, 349 visitors from China which is considered one of the main emerging markets for Seychelles.
But for the STB’s Chief Executive the current trend is temporary.
"This week when the latest figures will be published, we will see that the Chinese market is doing very well and will have increased. And this will continue the following week as Chinese tourists tend to travel a lot during this period.”
The Chinese people will this week be welcoming the Chinese New Year and the Chinese Spring Festival, as it is commonly known, is one of China’s most important holiday periods of the year, seeing a colourful cacophony of celebrations in China and in places containing Chinese populations all around the world.
Tourism arrivals in Seychelles increased by 1 percent in 2014 compared to 2013 with 232,667 visitors between January and December 2014 compared to the 230,272 arrivals in 2013 which was a 10.7 percent increase compared to 2012.
The leading markets to date are:
Country No. of visitors
South Africa 1,115