Seychelles surpasses quarter-million-visitor milestone
File Photo: Visitors pictured disembarking at the Seychelles International airport, from an Air Seychelles flight in February this year. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - More people are visiting Seychelles’ white-sand beaches, crystal blue waters and lush rainforest highlands in 2015.
Visitor arrivals to the western Indian Ocean island nation have risen nearly 20 percent this year, the minister of tourism said in an interview Friday.
Seychelles surpassed the quarter-million-visitor mark earlier this week. Just over 254,000 people have visited the island nation through December 6, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). That’s up 19 percent from the same year-over-year period in 2014.
“The government has worked very hard to put in place a public-private sector partnership that works,” Alain St Ange, the minister of tourism and culture, told SNA. “It is this togetherness that has made it happen for the country.”
The Seychelles archipelago is made of 115 islands and depends largely on tourism, the economy’s No. 1 sector. An increase in visitors essentially equals economic growth for the small nation.
The countries that send the highest number of tourists to Seychelles all come from Western Europe. More than 35,200 visitors in 2015 are from France; 34,057 are from Germany; and 20,116 are from Italy.
To keep the industry growing, St Ange said that both the ministry and the Seychelles Tourism Board need to concentrate more on the European market, which has accounted for nearly 160,000 visitors so far this year, an 11 percent increase over last year’s figures.
Next year the minister is expecting a further increase in visitor numbers with the introduction of direct flights to Beijing, China, by Air Seychelles. The flights are scheduled to begin next month.
In addition, Condor will be chartering a second direct flight between Seychelles and Frankfurt, Germany, as of next September. The German airline has been flying to Seychelles once a week the last several years.