Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Industry News: Seychelles Tourism Board hosted its Annual marketing strategy 2020 meeting

Seychelles Tourism Board meets Tourism Trade Partners 

The marketing body of the destination, the Seychelles Tourism Board  (STB) hosted its Annual marketing strategy 2020 meeting at Constance Ephelia Resort, this Tuesday July 16, 2019.

 The one-day meeting saw the participation of all core stakeholders of the tourism industry including the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation Ports and Marine Didier Dogley, the STB Chief Executive Mrs Sherin Francis, the STB staff from the headquarters and all 17 points across the globe. 

In his address Minister Didier Dogley mentioned his pleasure to be attending the meeting, which he says is a crucial one to understand the latest development in the tourism industry.

"This marketing meeting allows us to take stock of the status of our tourism industry and what has been achieved over the last six months, identify the challenges we face and formulate the appropriate responses," said Minister Dogley.  

Minister Dogley further mentioned the important work being undertaken in the development of the Destination 2023 adjustment to the tourism masterplan. He mentioned that it is important that the stakeholders remain committed to better our tourism products and services.  

In her address, Mrs. Sherin Francis expressed her satisfaction that the STB is hosting this annual meeting, she further mentioned her satisfaction to see that tourism arrival figures for the month of January to June 2019 has seen an increase of 9%. 

Aside from the 2018- 2019 analysis of performances on the various markets, Mrs. Francis' state of affairs presentation also touched on the strategy for the coming year. 

Mrs. Francis also took the opportunity to thank the various partners for their constant support throughout the year.  

The STB Annual marketing meeting at mid-year is an annual event that allows the tourism board to hold direct interaction with its local partners to discuss plans for the coming year. 

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Seychelles Tourism News

Tourism (MoM) arrivals in Seychelles grew by 9% from January to June 2019

Figures recorded by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed a remarkable growth in the tourism arrivals in June 2019 this year.

Indeed 25,761 visitors stamped their passports at the immigration desks at the Seychelles International Airports for a vacation on our shores.

An increase considered as exceptional for this period of the year, as it is the first time that Seychelles has ever recorded over 25,000 visitors during this month.  

Figures presented by the NBS, confirmed that visitor’s arrivals from the beginning of the year to end of June 2019 are equivalents to 187,108. This represents a significant increase of 9% when compared to the same period in 2018 as the number of visitors recorded for that period amounted to 172,099 visitors.

Germany remains at the top of the best five performing markets for the month of June 2019 as 4,087 German tourists disembarked on our shores; the United Arab Emirates (UAE) follows with a number of 3,119 visitors.

While the 2,110 visitors were recorded to have landed from United Kingdom (UK). In fourth and fifth position are France and Italy with a number of 1,855 and 1,794 tourists, respectively.

As projected by the Strategic Planning and Market Intelligence department of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), the targets set- at 3 to 4%- by the STB for this year will be exceeded.

Speaking at a press briefing at Botanical House earlier today, Mrs. Sherin Francis STB Chief Executive mentioned her satisfaction to note that 2019 would also be a year of great performance for the industry. 

 “It is remarkable to see that Seychelles remains a prime destination and that for the past few years the destination has performed quite well throughout the year. June is always a slow month and we had anticipated that this year it might be the same despite our active work to bring more tourist in the country. The current figures from NBS comforts us in knowing we managed to hit a record for the month of June,” said Mrs. Francis.   

Parallel to the increase in visitor’s arrivals is the growth in the yields, according to the most recent figures from the CBS (figures referred to are for Jan-May 2019), the yields recorded from tourism related activities have shown that the destination is 6% ahead of last year. The CBS estimated that the tourism earnings from January to May 2019 were approximately 3.5 Billion SCR compared to only 3.3 Billion SCR during the same period in 2018.

In terms of travel agency bookings for the coming months, an increase in the numbers of forward bookings have been estimated.

According to the forward bookings, data received from the travel agencies it is noted that for the next 6 months of the year,  for the top 5 markets a forecast 3.9% increase in regards to bookings made this time last year.

Major improvements in travel agency bookings for some key markets including France, Russia, UK, Italy and China have been noted.

Mrs. Francis maintained that the STB will keep on increasing visibility for the Seychelles and encouraged the tourism trade to keep the great marketing work in promoting their properties and services.

Friday, 12 July 2019

Hotel Updates: Four Seasons Resort at Desroches Island

Award Winner Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island

Four Seasons Resort has been named the winner in two awards at the International Hotel and Property Awards:

  • Best Beach Hotel 2019 
  • Best Restaurant – Africa and Gulf States for The Lighthouse
The award ceremony took place in Capri on Friday 28 June and was attended by the design and architect agency, eco id, who submitted entries for their work in creating Four Seasons Desroches. You can see the full list of winners here: http://www.thedesignawards.co.uk/hotel-property-winners-2019/

Friday, 5 July 2019

Airline News

Seychelles Tourism expected to grow through the Air Mauritius connection networks

Seychelles becomes more accessible to the world as Air Mauritius landed back at the Seychelles International Airport on Tuesday July 2, 2019.

Fourteen years after its last flight to Mahé, Air Mauritius (MK), returns for a twice-weekly flight between the two neighboring countries and connecting Seychelles to other parts of the world making connectivity easier for potential holidaymakers.

The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr. Didier Dogley alongside the Air Mauritius Senior Manager Sales and Strategic Cooperation Mr. Ben Balasoupramanien were present at the airport to welcome this MK flight, A319-100- the Mon Choisy.

The Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Mr. Alain Renaud and the Principal Secretary of the Tourism Department, Mrs. Anne Lafortune accompanied Minister Dogley.

The welcoming ceremony also saw the participation of The Chairman of the Board of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) Captain David Savy, the authority’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Garry Albert and the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis.

In his speech at the ceremony, Minister Dogley mentioned his pride to welcome Air Mauritius back in Seychelles; he also thanked the Mauritian company for choosing Seychelles as a destination.

“This new step in the bilateral relationship will definitely be beneficial for the two countries. At a time where Seychelles holds the presidency of the Vanilla Islands, we are one step forward in consolidating the Vanilla Island concept of connecting our islands by one flight per day,” said Minister Dogley. 

For her part, the STB Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis, mentioned that the coming of Air Mauritius back on our shores would accentuate on the visibility of the destination, making it even more accessible from different points across the globe. 

“We welcome more air connectivity as  it increases our profile as a destination through the easy access and more availability in terms of airline choices, Air Mauritius serves several of our markets and this is good news for tourism overall. From a marketing point of view, it also means more support on certain markets with mutual interest,” said Mrs. Francis. 

The airline, which is headquartered at the Air Mauritius Centre in Port Louis, also flies to over 10 destinations around the world including France, United Kingdom, Reunion, South Africa, India, China and Australia.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Industry News: Mason’s Travel awaits new addition to fleet

A New Flagship of Hospitality: Mason’s Travel awaits new addition to fleet

A new custom-built catamaran is slated to arrive in Seychelles this month, providing Mason’s Travel with a new platform for its excursions.

The 33.5-metre Le Cerf is named after one of the earlier vessels to form part of the fleet with Mason’s Travel, which began its excursions in 1972 with a reef safari to the Ste Anne Marine Park. While the new vessel bears little resemblance to its old namesake, the nature and spirit of the excursions remain very much the same, Mason’s Travel PR, Branding and Communication Manager Nicole St Ange said.

“Travellers to Seychelles are always astounded by the different perspective of the islands that can only be experienced from the sea,” St Ange said. “That same idea holds true 47 years later, and we’re delighted that Le Cerf will allow today’s holidaymakers that same special experience with an added level of comfort, service and convenience.”

Constructed by Two Oceans Manufacturing in Cape Town, South Africa, Le Cerf is currently sailing towards Seychelles with experienced seaman Harold Maillet accompanying the delivery crew. Maillet, who has been with Mason’s Travel for 36 years, also sailed the company’s catamaran Catalina from France to Seychelles in 2008.

Mason’s plans to use the vessel, with a capacity for 170 seated passengers or 240 standing, for a variety of its excursions, but the size of the vessel also offers new possibilities for groups and special events, especially as a dining platform at sea where guests can enjoy a meal with restaurant-style service.

With an upper and lower deck as well as a flybridge, the vessel can accommodate any number of different events and excursions at sea, with plenty of galley and storage space and flexible configurations that cater to formal dinner settings, casual cocktail parties and day trips alike.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Seychelles in the Spotlight

Seychelles charms featured at South Korea’s Hana Tour International Travel Show 2019 (HITS)

Korean travellers and partners had a glimpse of the beauty of the destination as Seychelles featured at the 13th Hana Tour International Travel Show from June 7, 2019 to June 9, 2019 at KINTEX exhibition centre, Goyang City in South Korea. 

The three-day exhibition gathered the participation of over 700 organizations and companies, including tourism boards, airlines, and hotels. 

Seychelles, represented by its marketing body the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) was lodged within an 18sqm stand with the destination brand image design focusing the beach the granite feature, which commanded the attention of many visitors to the stand.

The Seychelles delegation included Mrs. Amia Jovanovic-Desir, the Director for India, South Korea, Australia and South East Asia, Mrs. Judy Yun, newly appointed representative for the Seychelles on the South Korean market, Mr. Jean-Francois Figaro, Senior Officer - Strategic Planning & Market Intelligence and Ms. Jill Freminot- E-Marketing Executive.

Aside from meeting with the Seychelles team to discuss about the destination and its features, an assortment of events were organized at the stand to retain visitors’ interest.  

The activities included the spinning Roulette through which each participant had to mention the word Seychelles as many times as indicated in order to receive a branded water bottle. The spinning Roulette saw the participation of over 600 hundred visitors, which were a combination of families, couples and children.

Visitors were also invited to take a photograph at our stand with the Seychellois staff and the iconic Coco-de-Mer, the heaviest and largest nut in the world. Visitors then were invited to upload the photo on their social media page with the hashtags #Seychelles #HITS. 

The highlight of the STB’s participation at the HANA 2019 remains the lucky draw, which saw the signing up of more than 5,000 visitors, all wishing to be the lucky winner of a return trip to Seychelles for two persons. 

During the 3 days, the various visitors- including individual visitors -FIT, potential honeymooners, as well as retirees showed their extensive interest in Seychelles as a holiday destination. 

As part of its participation at the HANA 2019, the STB conducted a rigorous study on the Korean market.  The exercise was successfully conducted by STB the Senior Officer - Strategic Planning & Market Intelligence, Mr. Jean-Francois Figaro whose main objective was to facilitate the Consumer Insight Survey designed for this exhibition. 

The aim of the study was to generate important insight into South Korea as a source market for the Seychelles and better understand the needs and desires of South Korean travellers. 

Speaking about the collection of figure at the HANA 2019, the STB Director for India, South Korea, Australia and South East Asia, mentioned that it is essential for the tourism Board to have a better understanding of the challenges faced by the STB office in Korea and Korean Tour Operators in their attempt to successfully promote and sell the destination. 

To achieve these objectives Mr. Figaro together with other members of the Seychelles team gathered responses from more than 275 participants over the three-day period through the administration of survey questionnaires. 

The STB’s presence at the HANA 2019 caught the attention of numerous Korean Media representatives and STB Director for the market, Mrs. Jovanovic–Desir offered several media interviews to share the latest information and further promote the destination.

‘’Most of the tour operators and agents that we have met are focusing on the honeymooner’s segment and visitors who visited our stand believe that Seychelles is only for the high-end clients. I have thus informed them that Seychelles is a destination, which cater for demand from a broad range of income brackets.  We will continuously identify the appropriate marketing strategies and tools in order to increase the Seychelles’ image in South Korea, with the aim of changing this negative mind-set of the consumers,” said Mrs. Jovanovic-Desir.

“Seychelles is known as a dream and paradise holiday destination that people wish to visit once in their lifetime. This fair definitely allows increase Seychelles visibility and people’s awareness towards destination,” added Mrs. Yun

While in South Korea, Mrs. Jovanovic-Desir together and Mr. Figaro guided by Mrs. Yun met with some key players and trade partners in Seoul in a series of sales calls organized ahead of time. These included visits to tour Operating Company including Honeymoon Resort, Mode Tour, Vanilla Island and Dream TNE. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Hotel Updates: Indian Ocean Lodge

Indian Ocean Lodge awarded by HolidayCheck for outstanding reviews

Seychelles’ own Indian Ocean Lodge has been recognised by one of Europe’s top travel review websites for its consistently excellent guest ratings.

The small Praslin hotel at Grand Anse has again been awarded “Recommended” status by HolidayCheck.com, the world’s largest German-speaking travel review site.

With strong reviews praising the hotel’s staff and service, the Indian Ocean Lodge can proudly display HolidayCheck’s Recommended certificate on its website and other platforms, said Nicole St Ange, the hotel’s PR, Branding and Communications Manager. 

“As a small, locally owned and operated hotel, we’re proud that the Indian Ocean Lodge has been able to continually exceed guests’ expectations in line with its HolidayCheck guest reviews,” St Ange said. “In our specific niche in the market, trust is a huge part of the decision-making process, and recognition like this firmly establishes that our hotel offers a distinct and authentic experience with terrific value for money.”

HolidayCheck is a rating and booking portal that allows holidaymakers to find and book the best possible experiences thanks to authentic reviews, the expertise of its own travel agency and the knowledge of its online travel community.

The site has more than 8.7 million written reviews, 9 million user photos and videos of more than 700,000 hotels in its database, and its popular travel forum boasts up to 2.3 million visitors per month.

The German tourism market for inbound visitors to Seychelles continues to surge, with nearly 35,000 arrivals as of the end of May, far and away outpacing second-place France with just over 22,000 visitors, followed by the United Kingdom (13,606) and Italy (12,131).

Monday, 1 July 2019

Industry News: World Luxury Hotel Award Nominations

Home-grown hotels make international waves with award nominations

A pair of locally owned Seychelles hotels have again earned nominations in one of the travel industry’s most prestigious international award programmes.

Denis Private Island and CaranaBeach Hotel have each been nominated in several categories for the World Luxury Hotel Awards (WLHA), for which the winners are decided online by voters over a four-week period beginning 1st July.

Denis Private Island has been nominated for Luxury Beach Hotel, Luxury Romantic Hotel and Luxury Boutique Retreat, while the CaranaBeach has been nominated for Best Luxury Beach Hotel, Luxury Coastal Hotel and Luxury Romantic Hotel, for the Indian Ocean region.

The winners will be announced at the annual WLHA Gala Awards Ceremony on 12th October at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Finland.

Established in 2006, the WLHA now tallies more than 300,000 votes every year from international travellers to select its winners following the nomination process.

The awards generate positive exposure for not only individual hotels but also for the destination overall, especially given the online nature of the voting process, according to Nicole St Ange, the PR, Branding and Communications manager for both properties.

“We’re hoping to get a big push from within Seychelles as well as our friends and partners overseas to pitch in with their votes online,” St Ange said. “It’s a great way to highlight the strengths of our hotels while increasing our visibility on social media platforms.”

Voting can be accessed at https://buff.ly/2Yomluf to vote for Denis Private Island or  https://buff.ly/2FVQrhB to vote for CaranaBeach Hotel.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Conservation News: Six Senses

Six Senses Zil Pasyon's Corals Are Growing

The sustainability team completes the first stage of the coral restoration project 

FÉLICITÉ ISLAND, Seychelles – June 19, 2019 – In May 2019, the sustainability team at Six Senses Zil Pasyon successfully completed the first stage of its coral restoration project. The project was put in place in October 2017 on the surrounding reef of Félicité as a technique to accelerate its recovery. It is part of a larger habitat restoration plan, which continues to unroll on the island in collaboration with two local NGOs; the Ramos Marine & Island Reserve and Nature Seychelles alongside the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA). During the first two years of the coral restoration project, over a thousand grown corals have been transplanted back to the reef in the marine protected area between the northern side of Félicité and Coco Island.

Coral bleaching
Over recent years, corals have been under threat due to global heating and climate crisis. Because of the sudden increase of sea surface temperatures, the corals expel the algae living in symbiosis within their cells that provide up to 90 percent of their food requirements, making them white and resulting in widespread mortality (a process called coral bleaching).
Coral reefs comprise thousands of tiny creatures, named polyps, which exude a hard exoskeleton made of calcium carbonate. This creates a complex structure offering shelter, food and protection for a wide array of organisms and affecting livelihoods, food security and economic progress of marine species. This increase in the ocean’s water temperature can be caused by El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), an event intensified by climate change, which caused up to 95 percent mortality in coral reefs and reduced coral cover from 50 to 5 percent around Seychelles in 2016.

Resilient species of coral
Some types of corals manage to survive these conditions and create heat resistant strains capable of functioning in warmer waters. Based on this, the coral restoration project was born on Félicité and its objective was to plant two resilient species or coral back onto the reef in order to create a healthy and self-sustaining ecosystem.

Coral nursery
An underwater nursery was built for the corals to grow before they are transplanted on the reef. This mid-water structure of 66 x 20 feet (20 x 6 meters) consisted of 22 ropes attached to PVC pipes, anchored to the sea floor and kept afloat using jerry cans. The nursery was situated around 23 feet (seven meters) from the surface to avoid sedimentation, coral predators and to facilitate an optimal light for faster coral growth. Because of their growth, survival rates, and their resistance to the temperature anomalies in 2016, the species selected were Pocillopora grandis and Acropora abrotanoides.

Replanting results
By August of 2018, a total of 1,750 fragments were stocked in the nursery and the transplantation process started in October 2018. Grown corals were fixed onto the rocky seafloor or on old dead coral using a mix of water-resistant materials. Within three months, the team was delighted to see that the coral tissue had started to grow. The project was completed in May 2019 with 1,339 successfully transplanted corals over the 1,750 grown colonies. At the beginning of the project the sizes varied between 1.20 to 4.3 inches (three to 11 centimeters) and in the final stage some of them reached an approximate size of 15.74 inches (40 centimeters).

According to the satellite models of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a warning for a coral bleaching event in the Seychelles this year, induced by El Niño heat stress, with the highest chance of mortality occurring between May and August. Some studies declare that colonies which survived previous bleaching events have higher chances of survival and can spread their resilient characters. In the same way, transplanted corals can help recruit new juvenile corals naturally, increasing the recovery of the ecosystem, as it’s being proved in other Seychelles regions, making coral reef restoration effective for a longer period.

What’s next?
After the successful completion of this first phase, the next step will involve the monitoring of the reef’s health, and especially of the transplanted corals. The Sustainability team are now conducting surveys for the design of a new type of coral nursery, which will further enhance the restoration of the marine ecosystem surrounding the island of Félicité.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Conservation News: North Island

North Island’s New Environment Centre

Seychelles, 13 June – Much of the Seychelles’ attraction lies in the wonders of its environment, from untouched beaches and coral reefs to tropical forests and rare endemic species. Despite its size, this small island nation is a pioneer in ecotourism, with the highest percentage of its landmass protected in the world. Home to endangered species and abundant natural splendour, it is no wonder North Island similarly seeks to protect its unique biodiversity.

Over-tourism poses a threat to the earth’s fragile ecosystems, but not here. You can visit North Island knowing you can leave it even better than it was found. Not only is this a private island exclusive to guests, limited to only 11 villas at that, but also one that takes a sustainable approach to its development and operations. Once an abandoned copra plantation overrun with invasive alien species, North Island is busy restoring the environment to its original pristine state, undoing the damage wrought by man. In celebration of over 20 years of sustainable tourism, North Island has built a new Environment Centre, offering a unique opportunity to further environmental awareness as well as a chance for guests to connect with nature while leaving behind a positive impact.

“The Environment Centre is literally and figuratively the epicentre of North Island. Conservation lies at the very heart of our philosophy; it is our raison d’être,” says CJ Havemann, Environment Manager. The new facility is the hub of environmental activities on the island and serves as a base for resident conservationists and environmental volunteers. Filled with informative posters and artefacts on display, it is a treasure trove for learning about the local environment.

More than that, it is an interactive experience where guests meet conservationists to set off on guided hikes up the granite hills. Or hop on a private electric buggy and take a tour of the entire island. Stopping along the way to meet its friendly Aldabra Giant Tortoises, of which it’s home to approximately 100, spot tiny Seychelles White-eyes hiding in the lush forests, or happen upon nesting Hawksbill Turtles on North Island’s beaches – one of the few places in the world where they feel safe enough to come ashore in broad daylight. These threatened species have shown promise for future generations, with ever more breeding success on North Island.

Guests are encouraged to visit the island’s nursery and plant a tree. North Island has cleared vast amounts of alien species and planted hundreds and thousands of indigenous trees in their place, but there’s still more land to rehabilitate – the perfect opportunity to offset one’s carbon emissions in travelling to the island by helicopter. Guests are also invited to join educational talks in the evenings to learn more about the island’s fauna and flora and find out how they can assist in creating a ‘Noah’s Ark’, to preserve that which allured them to the Seychelles in the first place.