The exceptional beauty of Seychelles has been given the necessary support by the island’s Tourism Board and by the Seychelles Ministry responsible for Tourism&Culture to ensure that the island’s tourism industry remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy.
The Seychelles Tourism Board has successfully embarked on a marketing policy of diversification, and this week Elsia Grandcourt, the CEO of the Tourism Board, accompanied by David Germain, the Seychelles Tourism Director for Africa and the Americas, were in Brazil working with South Africa promoting twin center holiday packages (Safari&Beach) to the South Americans. This market has been showing positive signs which have encouraged the Tourism Board to work to consolidate the island’s presence as the add-on option after an African safari holiday.
At the same time Seychelles has been working through Bernadette Willemin, the island tourism’s European Director to consolidate its presence in France and Europe with a new drive in France itself. “This market knows us; in this market we have been investing for years, and we know that we have clawed back on the losses of last year; we need to be present with new relevance,” Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism, said about the marketing and sales work being undertaken in France.
The hotels and resorts in Seychelles are benefiting from the 15% increase in visitor arrivals (as of April 2013) when compared to figures during the same period in 2012, and the island has found that the new drive in the tourism industry is encouraging new investors to the islands. The recent Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report rankings by the World Economic Forum following the findings by the Travel&Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report 2013 continues to be a topic of discussion when Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, meets the press.
Seychelles has been able to bring about a tourism policy where the Seychellois are working together to claim back their tourism industry. This has encouraged more and more Seychellois to join the industry as small entrepreneurs.
The Seychelles Minister, St.Ange, who recently met Mrs. Thea Chiesa of the World Economic Forum when they were both in Lucerne, Switzerland, and were invited to be part of the 2013 Tourism Think Tank of tourism personalities before they both joined the 2013 World Tourism Forum which was also being held in Lucerne, Switzerland, said that he remains impressed by the process undertaken by the World Economic Forum in compiling the Travel&Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report.
In the last publications by the World Economic Forum, the findings by the Travel&Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report 2013 ranked Seychelles number 1 in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean region and number 38 in the world. This report is based on assessment of 140 economies worldwide under the theme, “Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation.” The assessment is based on the extent to which these economies are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector. At the time of the release of this publication, Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles had said that these findings validate the move carried out by President James Michel of the Seychelles after he took over the portfolio for tourism in his government to re-launch the island’s tourism industry exactly three years ago.
The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index wrote: The Sub-Saharan Africa Table 7 shows the results for the sub-Saharan region which sees the Seychelles entering the rankings for the first time at the top of the region, and 38th overall. The importance of travel and tourism for the country’s economy is reflected in its top ranking for the prioritization of the industry, with the 2nd highest T&T expenditure-to-GDP ratio in the world and effective marketing and branding campaigns. These efforts are reinforced by a strong national affinity for travel and tourism (5th); good tourism infrastructure, especially in terms of available hotel rooms (6th); and good ground and air transport infrastructures, particularly by regional standards (31st and 27th, respectively). These positive attributes somewhat make up for its relative lack of price competitiveness (120th).
Although the natural environment was assessed in this report as being in good condition, it was noted that efforts to develop the industry in a sustainable way could be reinforced, for example by increasing marine and terrestrial protection, which would help to protect the many threatened species in the country (132nd).
By the entry this year of the Seychelles as no. 1 in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean region and number 38 in the world, Mauritius lost its number one spot in the regional rankings and is ranked 58th overall. These findings had given the Seychelles Minister, Mr. Alain St.Ange, the opening to state and to continue to restate that he was pleased with the report as it showed that his work and that of the team at the Tourism Board was being recognized not just in Seychelles, but also right across the world.
Minister Alain St.Ange said: “Three years it has taken to be where we are today. From a re-launch instigated by President James Michel of the Seychelles when he moved the tourism industry to be a portfolio under his very own office and when he launched his vision as the ‘Seychelles Brand of Tourism.’ Today, the findings by the Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 shows that the move by the Seychelles authorities has brought about the needed transformation of the island’s tourism industry which has seen the island’s tourism industry rise to new heights.”
Those who know Seychelles will appreciate that it was President James Michel of the Seychelles who personally appointed Alain St.Ange, the known local hotel and tourism professional to head Seychelles Tourism as Director of Marketing before promoting him to the position of CEO of the Tourism Board to oversee, under his office, the total re-launch of the Seychelles tourism industry. In March last year, President James Michel moved to make tourism a stand-alone ministry of his government, and he appointed Alain St.Ange as the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture. Before President James Michel took over the portfolio of tourism, it was the island’s Vice President Joseph Belmont who had been mandated to head the tourism ministry.
Press from different parts of the world wrote about the Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 saying that with the archipelago’s main economic activities focusing on tourism and fishing, this 2013 report will add an interesting perspective to the island’s annual report. Seychelles is a relatively small island country with high emphasis on two mainstream sectors tourism and fishing. It is generally thought that tourism in particular has not received the ranking and emphasis it should get in such world reports, and with the ongoing success of “marketing Seychelles out of the economic downturn,” the archipelago will undoubtedly make a meaningful contribution and get well-deserved added global recognition now and in the future.
On the findings by the Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013, Minister Alain St.Ange said: “I am happy and accept the accolade by the findings of the Travel&Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 on behalf of the Ministry and the Tourism Board as a whole. We know that the inclusive approach practice in place opens the platform for our partners from the private sector to be heard, where our staff are listened to, and where, annually, time is set aside for a Marketing Meeting to be held to pave the way for new approaches to be analyzed, and where new directions are looked to ensure that they are working. This Marketing Meeting is with all the Tourism Board’s overseas offices, the airlines, the industry’s private sector association members, and the senior management of the Tourism Board, and it is clear that this inclusive approach is the right approach that continues to bring dividends for the country as we now see in this latest world report. We have managed to stay relevant as a tourism destination only because we are all working together as a country, and because we remain proactive always,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
Seychelles’ new successes is often attributed to their ability to be press friendly and for their relentless drive to remain a relevant tourism destination for the press. “We have never had the budget to play big advertising blitzes, but we have instead been innovative and intelligent in getting to the press by being present at events and wherever opportunities came up. One needs a good message and the dedication and, of course, the ability to meet the press to echo the message. Any event offers these opportunities, but it is the contacts needed to get you in at the right place and at the right time that opens these doors for you. We have done well and always used the opportunities we had to fly the Seychelles flag high,” the Seychelles Minister said.