Seychelles aims to increase awareness among Chinese tourists as it is voted among their favourite island destinations
Chinese tourist enjoying a day at the Anse Source D'Argent beach on the Seychelles third most populated island of La Digue. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles tourism board has attributed increased interest in the island nation among Chinese travellers to more awareness about the Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands as a tourist destination.
Seychelles was recently voted among a group of island destinations preferred by Chinese visitors. The ‘2015 Chinese Citizens favourite island destination’ Award was presented to the island nation’s Principal Secretary for Tourism Anne Lafortune, two weeks ago.
According to a press statement issued by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) last week, Lafortune was in the island city of Zhoushan, in China’s Zhejiang province, to attend the first International Island Tourism Conference to be organised by the Asian country.
A total of 20 island destinations, 10 of them from across the globe and 10 island destinations within China itself received the same award, voted by Chinese visitors themselves and travel experts.
|Seychelles featured among 20 island destinations worldwide and within China to be voted the preferred choice of Chinese visitors. (Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY|
Tourism is the main pillar of the Seychelles economy and China is considered to be one of the emerging markets.
Currently, the Asian nation is the 6th leading market with 12,766 visitors having disembarked in the island nation from January to October 25, 2015 representing a 7 percent increase when compared to last year’s figures according to the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.
“This year Seychelles has been a hot topic among the Chinese with increased awareness and other awards received. After the few charter flights done, the Chinese trades have been asking for direct flights to be established,” Jean-Luc Lai Lam, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Manager in China, told SNA in an email.
“We are now highly focused on increasing the awareness on Seychelles even further with more FAM trips and media trips for the region. At present we have the one of the largest TV media [Guangdong Television, GDTV], they are filming one of the most famous reality shows [in China] with 2 episodes in Seychelles. Next week, we will be welcoming 10 large new travel agents from China that will be working on the Destination for new products. With projects like this, Seychelles is reinforcing its positions as one of the most sought after destinations.”
While there has been a few chartered flight from China, most Chinese visitors are reaching Seychelles by catching flights from various transit points. Plans are underway by the national airline, Air Seychelles to introduce direct flights to and from various Chinese cities.
Welcoming the first Airbus A330 of the national airline, to be transferred to the Seychelles civil aircraft register last week the transport minister, also Air Seychelles Chairman Joel Morgan said that China is among new routes the airline is considering.
He announced that connectivity had already been secured with four major cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai.
Seychelles is not the only island destination wanting to attract a greater share of the Chinese market, which is one of the world’s largest outbound tourism market. According to China’s Tourism Research Institute, there were almost 62 million outbound Chinese visitors in the first half of 2015, which represents an increase of 12.1% compared with the same period in 2014.
During the first International Island Tourism Conference held in the island city of Zhoushan, in China’s Zhejiang province, Seychelles joined other island destinations including China’s islands, to share ideas on how they can all endeavour to further develop tourism to attract more visitors.
|Over 1,000 delegates attended China's first International Island Tourism Conference where Seychelles shared its own efforts to attract more Chinese tourists. (Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY|
Over one thousand representatives of island countries, tour operators, airlines, cruise liners, resorts and various associations representing tourism destinations in various regions took part in the meeting themed “Interconnecting the Marine Silk Road, Sharing the Island Development.”
“The conference not only provided us with a platform to further promote our beautiful islands to a wider audience of key decision makers in China and the world, but also reinforced our position as one of the best island Destinations. This was more than apparent when Seychelles was among the winners for the 2015 Chinese citizens Favourite Island Tourism Destination in the world,” said Lafortune, in the STB statement.
Lafortune who was accompanied by the newly accredited Seychelles ambassador to China Vivianne Fock-Tave and Jean-Luc Lai Lam, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Manager in China also delivered a presentation about Seychelles as an island destination.
She also touched on efforts made and subsequent achievement in attracting more Chinese tourists to the Indian Ocean archipelago.