Germans are top visitors to Seychelles for second straight month
Air Seychelles started direct flights between Seychelles and Düsseldorf, Germany in March. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - More people from Germany visited Seychelles than from any other country for the second consecutive month, followed closely by France and the United Arab Emirates, national statistics show.
From the beginning of the year to July, over 27,000 German visitors have set foot in Seychelles, a 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, according to Seychelles’ National Bureau of Statistics. That represents a 33 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016.
A total of 198,898 visitors has entered the country from year to date, which is 21 percent above last year at this time.
Connectivity to the western European country and the effort placed in marketing Seychelles as a destination has contributed to this year’s strong figures from Germany, said the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Sherin Francis.
“The manager who works with the German market has for a few years now been promoting Seychelles as the ‘partner country’ during the main fairs" held in Germany,” said Francis.
She explained that by doing so, the logos and photos of Seychelles are splashed all over the fairground. A competition is also organised during the fairs, whereby visitors taking part are required to visit the Seychelles’ stand for clues or information and as star-prize, the winner gets a round trip to Seychelles.
The CEO of STB said that Germany is a resilient market that has been stable even when the board “was struggling with other markets.”
“Germany has been performing extremely well and if everything goes smoothly, without any shocks that will affect the market, it will be a market that we will be able to rely on for years to come,” said Francis.
|The Seychelles Tourism Board and Air Seychelles treated German travel agents to a ‘spontaneous weekend’ in Seychelles. (Seychelles Tourism Board, Facebook) Photo License: CC-BY|
Every year when the board strategises, it monitors and takes into account trends that are developing. The point of views of local travel trades are also taken into consideration when planning for next year.
Talking about the second highest market, France, Francis said that despite the slight decline in the numbers, “STB is pulling big numbers from the country. It is still significant and producing volumes even if we have not been able to grow the market this year.”
To date, around 23,900 visitors entering Seychelles came from France. The United Arab Emirates follows with around 16,500 visitors.
Speaking about the Chinese market Francis said that the numbers are picking up with the introduction of a charter flight from Chengdu. In February this year, the flight by the Seychelles national carrier - Air Seychelles - to Beijing stopped as the one-year charter contract came to an end.
Air Seychelles has most recently cancelled its flights to Durban and Düsseldorf and has reduced the number of flights per week to Paris from four to three.
“We will continue to work with other partners that have been supporting us in the markets. The important thing for us to do now is to be more aggressive in our campaigns to stimulate demand,” said Francis.
She added that: “Air Seychelles would have also been a key partner during peak holiday periods where we are in competition with the other destinations for seats on airlines that go through the connecting hubs.”