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New campaign in Seychelles markets neighbouring Reunion Island as a holiday destination

Victoria, Seychelles | February 19, 2018, Monday @ 10:12 in Business » TOURISM | By: Sharon Ernesta | Views: 2733
New campaign in Seychelles markets neighbouring Reunion Island as a holiday destination

The promotion is being led by the Indian Ocean market office of the Reunion Tourism Board. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) 

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(Seychelles News Agency) - A first campaign has been launched in Seychelles to entice locals to visit the neighbouring island of Reunion – a French department in the Indian Ocean.

The campaign - Discover Reunion Island - is being done through the local media, brochures, banners as well with big posters on public buses.

Marketing executive for Reunion in Seychelles, Daphnee Zahary, said that the promotion is being led by the Indian Ocean market office of the Reunion Tourism Board.

“We know that Seychellois love travelling. The Reunion Island is really close to Seychelles but unfortunately, it is not really popular yet,” said Zahary, who is based at the Seychelles Tourism Board.

“The local people think that Reunion has only huge mountains to offer, and we wanted to show to the locals that there are a lot more to do and which is not that expensive,” said Zahary. 

The campaign - Discover Reunion Island - is being done through the local media, brochures, banners as well with big posters on public buses. (Salifa Karapetyan/Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

“The Reunion Island is for everybody, for Seychellois - families, couples, and friends - who want to discover a new destination that is not too far, and especially for those who want a great shopping experience.”Contrary to local belief, the marketing executive said that the island is for families and is affordable.

Zahary said “the island has a range of accommodations for all budgets and all types of visitors. Visitors can take advantage of large French and European brands.”

According to Zahary 40 percent of the prestigious sites of Reunion have been classified in the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

“The Piton de la Fournaise volcano is the island’s main tourist attraction, and offers outdoor activities and original visits, such as the lava tunnels to be discovered on the coast, or the amazing “Cité du Volcan” museum.”

SNA spoke to a few people to find what they think of the campaign and why Mauritius is a more popular destination with the locals.

Piton de la Fournaise -- a major tourist attraction on Reunion island. (Brian Iannone, Wikipedia) Photo License: CC BY 3.0

“I think it is the language, we find easier to communicate in Creole to Mauritians, and we find them closer to us in terms of lifestyle. In Reunion we have to speak French,” said pensioner Raymonde Louise who has never been to Reunion but has been to Mauritius twice.

“The few Seychellois who does travel go there for treatment and for medical health care as they have facilities with European standards. But for shopping, the island tends to be expensive and Mauritius is better for us,” Barbara Fock Tave - a nurse - told SNA.

 “Mauritius is cheaper, when we look at our currency the rupee is stronger than the Mauritius rupee, so we benefit. While in Reunion they use the euro which makes it too expensive for us” said Alain Ernesta who have been to Reunion once, not for holiday but rather for work.

Prisca Laure said that a promotion of what the island has to offer as a holiday destination is needed as people tend to know nothing of the island.

“With Mauritius, we know the story of Paul and Virginie. We know of the extinct bird - the dodo. We know of the soil with seven colours but we know virtually nothing of Reunion. We only hear of the island as having medical facilities and some people go there for treatment. And during the India Ocean Games, that is when we hear of the island.”

Reunion along with Seychelles – a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – share a lot in terms of culture and history.  Both are considered a melting pot of cultures with a mix race and ethnicity.

But Seychellois tend to like and travel more to Mauritius – another Indian Ocean island nation – compared to Reunion.

Figures from the Seychelles Bureau of Statistics show that for the first six months of 2017, 3258 visitors went to Mauritius compared to 323 who went to Reunion. For 2016, 6,370 residents visited Mauritius compared to 560 who went to Reunion.

Zahary explained that expatriates currently living Seychelles can also benefit from the promotion.

“It is also for expats here in Seychelles, who want to experience two different islands, nature and fun activities in Reunion with relaxation and seaside activities in Seychelles for example,” said Zahary. 

She said that they are also working with the airline – Air Austral – which flies direct to Seychelles from Reunion, to offer promotional airfares to Seychellois.  

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Tags: Seychelles Tourism Board, World Heritage list of UNESCO, Piton de la Fournaise

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