Despite the economic recession hitting many European countries, the “Old Continent” is still Seychelles’ main market source, supplying 72,436 visitors up to the second week of June 2013, or a 12% increase on the corresponding period last year.
This was announced by Ms. Bernadette Willemin, Director of Marketing for Europe, in her presentation at Seychelles Tourism Board’s (STB) Mid-year Review at Le Meridien Barbarons Hotel.
She noted that though there are presently no direct flights from France, that the country is still in the “pole position” as the main provider of tourists – with 18,547 to date, 16% up on last year. Germany, which is served by a weekly direct flight operated by Condor is secon, with 14,751 visitors. and Italy is third with 8,564 with a drop of 3% on last year.
Ms. Willemin said that though there is a drop from Italy, one of Europe’s countries worst hit by economic recession, the fact that it’s only a small percentage, shows that a lot of work has been done by the Seychelles team and tour operators in Italy. “Most of our competing destinations are feeling the pinch harder than us,” she said
From the UK, though visitor arrivals are just about 5,000 by mid-June, this is still an increase of 16%. Ms. Willemin announced the appointment of young Tinaz Wadia, presently at the Seychelles Tourism Board Mid-year Review – as the STO UK Manager who will drive the team presently based at the UK office.
The Russian market has also grown by 4% to reach 7,833 visitors, taking the fourth position after Italy.
Ms. Willemin said that despite the ongoing recession in Europe, she has noted some positive aspects, which are undoubtedly contributing to continued growth from Europe, noting that the objective is to attract 157,000 European tourists by the end of the year.
On a positive note, she mentioned increased exposure brought about by press trips to Seychelles, TV interviews, media meetings, and many articles, including some cover stories in several European travel publications.
She also said that MICE (Meetings, Incentives travel, Conference and Events) is one important market segment which STB intends to tap from Europe, especially during the traditionally low seasons.
Ms. Willemin also said there is a stronger bonding with foreign partners, notably tour operators, including 250 new contacts. She noted that some recent developments in airline dynamics also appear favorable to Seychelles. One is the recent launch of Etihad flights to Amsterdam and another is Emirates flying to Stockholm, both of which augur well for Seychelles’ marketing drives in Northern Europe, spared from recession so far.
Ms. Willemin, however, deplored the tendency by most European airports to hike their taxes, which now vary between 300 and 500 euros, a factor which she said impacts negatively on travel to long-haul destinations, such as Seychelles.
Сейшелските острови е член-основател на Международна коалиция на туристическите партньори (ICTP) .
PHOTO: Bernadette Willemin, Director of Marketing for Europe, in her presentation at the Seychelles Tourism Board Mid-year Review