Thursday, 19 November 2020

Industry News

Seychelles seduces the World of Weddings virtual fair

The Seychelles Islands made its debut in the virtual events arena through its participation in the first 3D virtual wedding fair, The World of Weddings (TWOW) held from October 23 to October 25, 2020.

The three-day Indian wedding fair attracted close to 2,000 attendees including specifically targeted end consumers interested in luxury, lifestyle, and wedding essentials as well as travel agents, tour operators and wedding planners with the perfect clienteles.

As the Indian wedding industry undertakes a transformation unlike any other as a result of readjustments made amidst the global pandemic and with preferences leaning towards intimate and open-air ceremonies, the pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and lush surroundings of Seychelles make the perfect wedding destination.

The Seychelles Tourism Board, along with five partners, participated in TWOW with an interest of presenting the superb offerings of the destination for intimate weddings, celebrations, honeymoons, and family getaways. Participants also had the chance to interact and connect with almost 215 visitors at the booth and networking lounge.

Participating partners included DMCs, namely Creole Travel Services, Masons Travels and Summer Rain Tours and hotels which included Constance Ephelia Mahé and Avani Barbarons Seychelles Resort.

Hosted by the STB Team, the Seychelles virtual Pavillion showcased a myriad of wedding operators and service providers through this one-stop-shop platform, addressing some of the impertinent wedding woes brought about by the pandemic.

The fair united the finest players of the wedding industry, including over 300 B2B visitors such as Hight Net Worth Individual tour operators and top-notch wedding planners, to not only network but to also have one-on-one interactions with potential clientele from the comfort of their homes.

The event reached its target audience through the extensive use of social media, primarily Instagram which saw an overall reach of over 2.7 million people, over 2.5 months, interested in Indian weddings both from India and other global locations.

Seychelles has benefited from this prime opportunity to expand this thriving market segment, which has become significantly vital during a period where people have realised the importance of cherishing each moment shared with loved ones.

Speaking about the event, STB Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis said “It is vital that we are able to maintain the interest on a market with potential even if it is not fully ready for travel with immediate. Note our works a lot of times is preparing the market ahead of time, staying top of mind of our visitors and partners so that eventually when the time and condition is right, the interest can easily be converted. In this instance, through this event, given the changing trend of weddings as a result of the pandemic, our Indian partners had a chance to appreciate that Seychelles as a destination check the list and has become even more ideal for weddings.”

The alluring Seychelles Islands have proven to be a dream wedding destination for lovers worldwide, offering not only some of the world’s most stunning open-air locations but also lavish hotels to host such intimate celebrations.

Welcoming travellers from all corners of the earth since its reopening in June, the island destination continuously extends its warm welcome to all those who wish to experience paradise and is especially honoured to host those who choose to start a thrilling new chapter of their lives on its shores.



Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Airline News

Condor Colours Return to the Seychelles Islands


Some 224 visitors from Germany and its surroundings disembarked in Seychelles as Condor airlines made a special return to paradise Seychelles, on Saturday, November 14, 2020. 

The airline operated a special charter in collaboration with DER Touristik, a German tour operator, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and Mason’s Travel in the aim to ignite the spark for Seychelles for visitors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

Working in partnership with the STB and Mason’s Travel, DER Touristik- prominent European tour operators and a market leader for long haul travel in Germany, Austria and Switzerland- gave the honour to Seychelles to be the first destination for such a charter since March.  

Ensuring the success of this venture, sixteen local accommodation partners joined the project and created various attractive packages, which included special honeymoon packages for newlyweds, a booming market segment for the pristine paradise.  

In line with the new travel prerequisites to enter Seychelles, the various packages included a travel health insurance required for entry with Covid-19 coverage and the super carefree package from DER Touristik, which protects holidaymakers in the event of Covid-19 related incident. Travellers were allowed to cancel their trip free of charge up to 14 days before departure. 

The collaboration carries hope for the local tourism industry, as the operated Condor charter was a fully booked one with passengers excited to be away from the confined cities to experience the mystical beauty of the islands until their return flight on November 21, 2020. 

Speaking about the special flight to Seychelles, the STB Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis mentioned her satisfaction to see the interest of the visitors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

“Our collaboration with Mason’s Travel, Condor, DER Touristik is in anticipation of the resumption of the Condor flights at the end of the year. We are glad to see that the interest of our visitors and partners from the market is still present. Germany remains a very important market for Seychelles and as such, is vital that we remain very close with our partners,” said Mrs Francis.

On his part, Mr Christian Zerbian, STB representative on the German market stated his satisfaction to see the response of the visitors from that market to the offer.

“This is a definitely a very positive outcome of the efforts invested these past few months. There is still a lot of potential for this market to produce even more and we are striving to make the return on Condor on the Seychelles route beneficial for the destination,” said the STB Representative in Germany.

Safety has become pivotal to rebuilding confidence in the travel industry, through this partnership between the destination, airline, hotels and DMCs, traveller safety remains central throughout the entire travel chain starting from departure extending throughout their stay.  

Condor is expected to resume flights to Seychelles on December 18, 2020, with a direct weekly flight from Frankfurt.    



Industry News

New Seychelles Minister for Tourism takes Office


The Seychelles Islands welcomes its new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Ambassador Sylvestre Radegonde.

Appointed by President of the Republic Mr Wavel Ramkalawan early this month, the new minister was sworn-in his position on Monday, November 16, 2020, at State House. Minister Radegonde thereafter headed to his new offices at Maison Queau de Quincy at Mont- Fleuri.

Minister Radegonde has a history in the tourism sector, serving as the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board from March 2005 to February 2006.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism called on staff at the Seychelles Tourism Board Headquarters and Department of Tourism at Botanical House for a familiarisation visit, allowing him to briefly interact with the various staff present.

Commenting on his visit, the Tourism Minister stated his satisfaction to have an opportunity to be part of this important industry for Seychelles.

Speaking in regards to his new appointment, Minister Radegonde said that Diplomacy also encompasses the promotion of the destination and that during this pandemic it is essential to join resources, emphasising this by stating that the Embassies and STB should work together whenever possible.

He further elaborated that the promotion of Seychelles will be a priority of the Embassies.

Additionally, he made note that the 3 institutions; STB, Foreign Affairs and Department of Tourism; possess a competent, driven workforce which his ministry aims to continuously motivate and support during this difficult climate.

The Minister will be meeting with the individual institutions; STB, Foreign Affairs and Department of Tourism; in staff meetings during the week to share and discuss his vision.

Before he was appointed Minister, Hon. Radegonde was based in Paris for the past 3 years, where he formerly served as Seychelles appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to France.

Minister Radegonde holds a Masters in Diplomatic Studies from the University of Westminster and has an extensive background in International Relations, Political Affairs and Diplomacy.

Minister Radegonde is married and has three sons.



Monday, 16 November 2020

Hotel Updates: Mango House Seychelles LXR Hotels & Resorts

LXR Hotels & Resorts to Debut Island Oasis in the Seychelles 


LXR Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s collection brand of independent luxury properties, today announced plans to open Mango House Seychelles on Mahé island in early 2021.

This highly anticipated, intimate and exclusive resort is situated on pristine beachfront in the southern part of Mahé, stretching along the edge of the Anse aux Poules Bleues – a sparkling calm bay with shallow clear waters. An oasis of relaxation enveloped by the revitalising fragrance of surrounding fruit trees, Mango House Seychelles will provide a convivial retreat where guests can soak in breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean and explore Mahé’s white sandy beaches, all the while enjoying a truly unique hospitality experience.

“We are delighted to have signed an agreement to bring LXR Hotels & Resorts to the Seychelles,” said Carlos Khneisser, vice president, development, Middle East and Africa, Hilton. “We currently operate three properties on the islands and the destination’s enduring appeal as a year-round holiday sanctuary for the world’s discerning travellers makes it a prime location to grow our luxury portfolio with the LXR brand. In addition to providing tailored service, Mango House Seychelles will allow guests to delight in a myriad of unique and exciting culinary concepts, including a variety of locally inspired menus. Guests can look forward to enjoying a boutique luxury resort experience at this outstanding LXR property.”

Originally built as a family dwelling by celebrated Italian photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri, Mango House Seychelles promises a sense of home in a private and remote location with 41 spacious and immaculately designed guest rooms including nine suites. Every aspect of the guest experience stays true to Seychelles’ vibrant heritage and culture, from the resort’s artisanal charm to its thoughtful and genuine service. The resort’s consummate hosts are on hand to create authentic experiences that will last a lifetime – from barefoot candlelit dinners to intimate escapes.

Guests will also have the opportunity to explore the turquoise waters of the Anse A La Mouche bay and its kaleidoscope of flora and fauna through an exciting range of water sport activities such as kayaking and snorkelling.

“It’s a pleasure to introduce LXR to the Seychelles where our guests will experience the unique story of this incredible property come to life,” said Feisal Jaffer, global head, LXR Hotels & Resorts. “Developed in harmony with its picturesque surroundings, Mango House Seychelles will deliver handcrafted hospitality with the rich and fascinating Seychellois culture woven into every aspect of the guest experience. The property will be a fabulous addition to our growing collection, and we look forward to extending LXR’s exceptional service to both visitors and locals of these fabled islands.”

Five world-class food and beverage venues will take guests on a culinary journey of exotic flavours. Muse will offer a soulful blend of Mediterranean-inspired dishes made from market-fresh local ingredients. Guests can also indulge in freshly made sushi and robatayaki grilled delicacies at Japanese restaurant Azido or enjoy a relaxed beach dining experience with fresh seafood and succulent meats grilled over sustainable coconut shell charcoal at the resort’s barbecue pop-up venue.

For a playful afternoon, guests will need look no further than the resort’s pool bar, Soley, inviting holidaymakers to sip on refreshing, island-inspired cocktails by the vibrant poolside. Meanwhile, the resort’s Indo-Seychellois bar will serve exotic cocktails, rums, and cool gin and tonics infused with ingredients inspired by the rich heritage of the island’s very first settlers.

Whether looking for mesmerising views or pure tranquillity, guests can choose from three pool areas, including the main eye-shaped pool, an infinity pool and a wooden deck pool, all offering plenty of opportunities to be pampered while soaking up the Seychellois sun.

Mango House Seychelles also incorporates treatment rooms overlooking the glittering Indian Ocean and personalised therapies using locally sourced, handcrafted products. Together with a well-appointed fitness centre, the resort promises the ultimate sensory experience, allowing guests to conveniently relax and rejuvenate throughout their stay.

Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels and Resorts joins three existing Hilton properties in the Seychelles, including Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa, and DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles – Allamanda Resort & Spa.

Each property in the LXR Hotels & Resorts portfolio promises a singular travel experience that is native to its place, history, and tradition. LXR properties can be found in some of the world’s most alluring locations, including London, Dubai, Bodrum, and Anguilla, with soon-to-open properties in Kyoto and Las Vegas. 

For more information about the LXR Hotels & Resorts portfolio, please visit https://newsroom.hilton.com/lxr and www.lxrhotels.com.

Industry News

The Seychelles Islands participates in the first virtual World Travel Market


After 40 years of being held in London, the 41st World Travel Market steps into the virtual world, bringing the annual international travel event to the doorsteps of tourism players across the globe. The Seychelles Islands made an appearance before global tourism stakeholders.

The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and several industry partners including Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA), Mason’s Travel, 7° South, Creole Travel Services and Hilton Seychelles, represented Seychelles.

Speaking about the importance of Seychelles' participation at WTM Virtual, STB 
Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis emphasised the importance of consistency in destination marketing tactics.

“Tourism marketing is a continuous business. You cannot take a pause and hope to pick up several months later. The day Seychelles disappears from the scene, another destination will be quick to replace us. Therefore, it is very important that we keep the destination visible and remain in communication with our existing partners and within reach of new potential partners. The virtual WTM has been ideal in that sense.” 

Over three days, the Seychelles delegation attended live conference sessions and forums tackling some of the major issues the industry currently faces, as well as speed networking sessions, one-to-one meetings, and virtual networking opportunities.

The agenda for this year’s WTM centred around restoring and developing business connections, growing one’s network, one’s brand and learning how to make a comeback. 

Speaking about the global event, STB Regional Director for Europe, Mrs Bernadette Willemin said, “It is important that we keep the global travel conversation alive. The delegation used this platform to tap into a wide range of online business opportunities. STB participants alone attended over 150 meetings with professionals from different parts of the world. In this new virtual space, one could also discover the latest trends and hear the opinions of the industry’s leading executives.”

Despite moving to a virtual stage, the event was as just successful as it had been in previous years, attracting a large crowd of exhibitors from all corners of the world as well as international journalists seizing the chance to keep up with travel industry news and network.

WTM London has been shaping the future of travel for over 40 years by facilitating the connection of people within the travel industry, bringing their global experience to local markets.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Airline News

Boosting Tourism from South Africa, Seychelles National Carrier Resumes Commercial Flights


The tropical paradise of the Seychelles Islands will now become more accessible to visitors in the Southern African region with Air Seychelles resuming its commercial operations to Johannesburg as of Saturday, November 7, 2020. 

The restart of the Seychelles national airline to South Africa materialized three weeks after the local authorities have reviewed the Category 1 list of permitted countries to include 10 African countries of which four from the Southern African Region. 

Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive, Mrs Sherin Francis expressed her enthusiasm to have air connectivity restored with the South African market as South Africa remains an important market for Seychelles. 

“It is an encouragement to have our national airline back with its Seychelles-Johannesburg route. As part of our strategy to increase the visibility of the destination, our team has been working diligently to increase Seychelles visibility on the market especially with the local partners in South Africa. As we are approaching the festive season, we are glad that Seychelles becomes not only a dream but a possibility for an idyllic holiday for our travellers from this region,” said the STB Chief Executive. 

The national carrier will be operating weekly flights between Johannesburg and Seychelles on Saturdays throughout November and will expand its operations with three flights per week on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays in December. 

A swift getaway will be within the reach of travellers longing for a change of scenery especially with good air connectivity, a Seychelles holiday will now be possible for the festive season ahead. 

Upon landing in Johannesburg, the Air Seychelles aircraft received a warm welcome with a guard of honour salute upon landing at OR Tambo International Airport.

Remco Althuis, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer said: “We are pleased to add Johannesburg back unto our network now that both Seychelles and South Africa have reopened to welcome international visitors.

“The resumption of services between both countries will provide travellers more options when planning their holidays especially during the festive season in addition to increasing the visibility of the Seychelles destination to further boost tourism demand to the island.

With these increased operations, the national airline will be ensuring the safety measures and procedures put into place by the Seychelles Public Health Authority remain in place during all stages of travel. Since its reopening, the Seychelles International Airport was already operating under these measures and will continue to ensure that the safety of their passengers remains their top priority.


COVID-19 Update from Seychelles

Seychelles Steps up Health Measures


Responding to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and the second wave in certain regions around the world, destination Seychelles is re-enforcing measures to curb probabilities of local infection on its shores. 

The review has been done by the tourism task force, a committee regrouping tourism stakeholders, health decision-makers and various other local agencies to oversee all issues relating to the re-opening of the destination during this period dominated by the COVID 19 pandemic. 

The current review of the measures is based on epidemiological factors and considerations.

The first change to the measures relates to the COVID-19 PCR test to be done while in the country. The timing of the test has been reviewed by the Public Health Authority (PHA) and specifies that all visitors coming into Seychelles, will take a PCR test after the fifth night. This means the testing will be conducted on the sixth day after the arrival of the visitor.

Before that, only visitors from the Category 2 countries were required to take a PCR test whilst in the country. Now, these new measures apply to all visitors.

Visitors and hotel partners are also being advised that unless informed of the contrary after 24 hours of the sample being taken, the visitor should consider the result as negative. Visitors from Category 2 countries may then follow Category 1 requirements, which include changing hotels and able to proceed with their planned holidays whilst observing strict health protocols throughout.

The task force has considered the increasing interest of young couples to walk down the aisle in the paradisiacal islands and has since applied stricter measures for establishments hosting weddings and for other wedding service providers including Civil Status personnel officiating, beauty and hairdressing service suppliers.

Relating to the sixth-day testing and protocols to be adopted in case of an asymptomatic case detected, the PHA has advised that if the client is staying in a Category 2 establishment, he or she could be allowed to remain in isolation within the establishment.

It is imperative that the person does not have contact with other visitors staying at the same property as well as have limited and controlled contact with hotel personnel while being monitored daily.

In actual practice, when or if a visitor is found to be a positive case of Covid-19, the health team will be on-site to guide the management on measures to be applied. It may also be the case that a particular establishment is not suitable to keep an infected person and he or she would need to be moved to another designated and certified hotel.

The general measures for a Category 2 establishment will automatically apply for a positive case and the specific measures must be determined on the actual establishment and the conditions present at the time. Before the PCR test is taken on the sixth day, every visitor is treated with caution, through intensive safety procedures.

Seychelles has been welcoming visitors since June from private flights and charters but reopened its borders to commercial fights on August 1, 2020.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Seychelles in the Spotlight

Seychelles sweeps Sustainable Tourism Destination Award


For the second consecutive year, Seychelles receives the honour of being crowned Indian Ocean’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination for the 27th annual World Travel Awards. 

This year’s coronation propels once again, the archipelago of surreal natural beauty, to the pinnacles of the regional ecological spheres for 2020 against its island contenders Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius and Reunion Island.

Truly, “Another World”, Seychelles clings to its reputation of a world-class holiday destination with sublime natural allure and puts vigorous efforts in the preservation of the islands.

Speaking of the honour of receiving the award for the second time in two years, Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Chief Executive Mrs Sherin Francis reaffirmed the destination’s commitment towards conservation.

“It is such an honour for our small destination to be recognised as one excelling in sustainability. As a destination, it is our pride to be an inspiration to the world. This award is for all Seychellois trying hard to contribute enormously in the protection of some of the most endangered species and their habitats, and in the safeguarding of our ecological systems. My thoughts goes to our partners in the industry striving to maintain the standard of their practices. These includes environmentalists, NGOs and nature lovers just to name a few, who have been constant and persistent towards keeping our islands in a pristine state,” said Mrs Francis.

Renowned for its pristine beauty, Seychelles has made it its mission to preserve its exotic paradise and rich natural heritage through sustainable practices and measures.

The Seychelles Islands does not only hope to attract more travellers through their winning of this award but also to inspire great nations to take up the mission of sustainability under their wing.

Other winners at the World Travel Awards this year include Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa for ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Villa Resort’, Air Seychelles for ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’, and Seychelles Travel (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Tour Operator’).

Since its establishment, the World Travel Awards celebrates excellence across prime sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry and is presently recognised as the ultimate certification of industry excellence.

Following a yearlong search for the world’s top travel and hospitality brands, travel industry professionals and the public cast votes, with the nominee gaining the most votes in a category named as the winner.

These winners invited to the virtual Indian Ocean Winners Day on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, which showcased the very best of the region’s travel and tourism sector to the world.

Hopes for the industry's global recovery shines through with the record number of votes cast by the public for this year’s World Travel Awards indicating the rising demand and thirst for future travel.

Winners also gain extensive exposure as they are globally represented on social media, with daily content on multiple platforms.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Seychelles in the Spotlight

Seychelles Brought Closer to Reunion Holidaymakers Through Webinars with Partners


The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) office in Reunion conducted two virtual meetings with industry partners in the overseas department and region of the French Republic in the aim of reviving business from this market.

The Reunion market considered part of France is eligible to enter Seychelles under conditions applicable to visitors from Category 2 on the permitted list of countries as of October 1, 2020.

The STB team invited tourism stakeholders in Seychelles and their Reunion counterparts to join two webinar sessions set to provide clarity on procedures applicable in Seychelles for Reunion holidaymakers.

Responding to the STB’s invitation, several partners including Destination Management Companies (DMC) and Hotel partners with interest in the Reunion market joined the discussions.

On the DMC side, Seychelles was represented by 7 degrees South, Creole Travel Services and Masons Travel to explain the new features regarding their services while on the hotel side representatives from Hilton group and Le Laurier Eco Hotel attended the virtual meetings to showcase their properties and explain the different protocols in place.

Ms Bernadette Honore, STB representative in Reunion and Mrs Bernadette Willemin, STB Regional Director for Europe represented the destination tourism board and representatives from Air Austral were presented during both sessions in support of the initiative.

The main point of the agenda remained the wellbeing of clients from Reunion in the face of the new sanitary protocols imposed by the destination as part of its Safe Tourism policies.

The STB representative on the Reunion Island stated that these virtual marketing activities are crucial for the tourism board as the priority is to re-generate the demand of Réunion Travellers to Seychelles.

She further stated that as part of re-generating demand from the Reunion market, the engagement of Travel Trade professionals to restart selling the destination and Air Austral’s commitment of repositioning direct flights on Seychelles route are crucial.

“Keeping our partners engaged and providing the reassurance that Seychelles is a safe destination for Reunion visitors is the main reason behind the two webinars. As Seychelles is ready to welcome travellers to its shore, we felt the need to invite our partners to explain to them the travel protocol in place for category 2 on the permitted list of countries. We were pleasantly surprised to receive over 30 decision-makers of Réunion Travel Trade professionals in the city of Saint-Denis and Saint Gilles during two days,” said Ms Honore.

During the sessions, Mrs Willemin responded to various questions raised by the Réunion Travel Trade professionals and provided pertinent information regarding the travel protocols.

On their part, the Air Austral representatives offered an opportunity for discussions between Seychelles local partners, STB, Air Austral and the Réunion Travel trade professionals regarding the availability of flights for visitors from Reunion.

“The two sessions have been very satisfactory for the STB team as we have witnessed the enthusiasm of the Réunion Travel Trade professionals to restart selling Seychelles as a holiday destination and this is a positive sign for the market. The meeting also provided reassurance to our partners in Seychelles as it confirmed the commitment of Air Austral to provide direct schedule flights to Seychelles in mid-December. The timing of the re-opening of direct flights from Reunion is very encouraging for partners predetermining a growth in visitors from Reunion towards the end of the year,” said the STB representative in Reunion. Ms Honore further stated the anticipation of an increase in the numbers of travellers from Reunion in December since the month sees the happening of the ‘été Austral’ holiday starting from December 19, 2020, to January 25, 2021 marking of the one longest vacation period for the market.