MASSIVE BOOST FOR SEYCHELLES TOURISM AS NUMBERS SHOOT UP BY 25 PERCENT
(Posted 02nd March 2017)
The foundations laid by immediate former Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Mr. Alain St. Ange and his team at the Seychelles Tourism Board continue to bear fruits, as the latest statistics from Victoria indicate.
Arrival numbers for the first two months rose by a massive 25 percent compared to 2016 which was itself way up over 2015 and previous record setting years.
From 42.501 visitors in January and February last year did the 2017 numbers rise to 53.247 with the forecast for coming months equally good.
The top five source countries are France with 6.528 visitors closely followed by Germany with 6.234 visitors. Third came China with 4.033 tourists visiting the Seychelles, ahead of Russia with 3.408 visitors. In fifth position stood the UAE with 3.116 visitors.
Said a source from Victoria, after being asked to comment on this development though on condition of anonymity for not being an official spokesperson of her organization: ‘The reason for our success is based on many factors. Most important is what you always call our juggernaut of marketing. It is true we have rolled out over the past years an extremely well coordinated marketing strategy, concentrating equally on our existing core markets but also paid a lot of effort to develop new and emerging markets. Secondly is it air access which I know is another favourite topic of yours. We grant airlines access to the Seychelles in an unprecedented way and still support and work with our own national airline. Air Seychelles has also recorded massive growth which means there is enough cake for everyone to eat. Thirdly, our resorts are second to none. But empowering our own people to get a piece of the action in our country’s most important industry, tourism, has worked out very well. Occupancies of locally owned small hotels, guest houses, self catering establishments and B&B’s has gone up a lot too. Our market is diversified enough to give tourists the product they seek from top quality 5 star resorts like North Island, Desroches, MAIA, Constance Hotels, Four Seasons and Raffles to name just a few but also allow guests with a smaller budget to have the time of their life. Fourth and last but not least come our pristine waters, beaches and mountains. Over half of our small land mass is today a protected area and so are vast spaces of ocean around our islands. There are the ingredients of our success besides the steady political leadership we enjoyed, under Minister St. Ange and now Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne who brings a wealth of experience from tourism to aviation to diplomacy with him‘.
(Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne)
St. Ange resigned from government in December to allow him pursue his candidacy for the post of Secretary General of the UNWTO for which he was given the full support of his President, government and private sector. In fact does Seychelles hold one seat on the voting council where the decision is being made in May this year.
St. Ange, resigned in act of unprecedented ethics and morals vowing not to use his government’s limited resources to advance his campaign unlike other candidates who in the face of national budget crisis’ use dwindling funds to travel the globe. He also reiterated that as a sitting minister he could not run his campaign without neglecting his ministerial duties, and with tourism being the mainstay industry of the archipelago he was making that choice without taking a toll on the well being of the sector – and the latest arrival statistics prove him right.
(UNWTO Secretary General candidate Alain St. Ange)
In a recent opinion piece by the East African newspaper of the Nation Media Group published in Nairobi, did one George Onoriode suggest St. Ange resigned ‘controversially from his job‘ an allegation entirely untrue and dismissed as a fantasy invention from a highly placed political source in Victoria who on condition of anonymity said: ‘Nothing could be further from the truth. The article you quoted and which I read, is clear in its direction to boost one candidate over another. While this author has thankfully refrained from using the ‘R’ word which was invoked by the other African candidate in an interview in January, it is very obvious that the tendency of the opinion piece is to talk down our candidate while talking up another. The Seychelles is an African country and if anything we are the real rainbow nation of this world. We do not discriminate against anyone because of his creed, nationality, colour or even sexual orientation and this should be noted and in fact has been noted. Like Alain St. Ange once said, Seychelles is a friend to all and enemy of none. We are exercising our democratic rights to put forward what we think is the best candidate for UNWTO and will not be deterred by an opinionated section of the media. Smear campaign at this level are not what civilised people do or what the position deserves and the world of tourism knows that‘.
What for the unbiased eye is clear here is that success breeds success and with St. Ange’s track record and global reputation it will be for his peers at the Executive Council of UNWTO to decide how far he is to go come the May elections which will be held over just two rounds, with all but the two top contenders eliminated after round one.
Watch this space!