The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Elsia Grandcourt, has re-assured the partners of the tourism industry on La Digue island, Seychelles’ third most-populated island with an active growth of tourism establishments, of the positive growth in tourism arrivals despite the lack of nonstop flights from Europe.
Mrs. Grandcourt was speaking during the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism’s third association meeting chaired by the Minister responsible for Internal Affairs and Transport, Minister Joel Morgan, and the Seychelles Tourism Board Chairman, Barry Faure, on progressive reports on the second meeting, which tabled issues related to law enforcement, policing, the judiciary, statistics, and standards of the tourism industry on La Digue.
“Statistics for the second quarter of the year illustrate a clear rise of eight percent in the number of tourism arrival in Seychelles. Owing to the lack of non-direct flights, the visitor arrivals have dropped on some of the core markets. The Seychelles Tourism Board is working even harder to sustain the tourism growth, to defend its core markets, and to tap into the potential of new tourism markets. France, Seychelles’ top core market, remains the major source of long-haul tourists. Russia and South Africa, the secondary markets, have registered a progressive rise. The Seychelles Tourism Board will continue to consolidate these emerging markets to fill the loss of tourism arrival on the core markets.”
In regards to the questions raised on the possibility of repositioning viable nonstop direct flights to Seychelles similar to that of Blue Panorama, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board said that till now, negotiations are still in progress. She explained that the Routes Africa forum, which will be held in Seychelles from July 8-10, will open up new opportunities to work on road maps for viable airlines committed to be positioned on the Seychelles-Europe routes.
The Minister Responsible for Transport, Joel Morgan, has explained the Seychelles government’s stance in putting nonstop direct flights to Europe.
“Air Seychelles had been commissioned to undertake a study on the viability of positioning a nonstop direct flight to Paris. Results of the study have proven that the company will run at loss with this operation. The Seychelles government is in the process of seeking other alternatives to re-position airlines on the Seychelles-Europe direct nonstop routes,” Minister Morgan stated.
Minister Morgan said that following his mission in France, together with the Seychelles Minister Responsible for Tourism, Alain St. Ange, and the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Elsia Grandcourt, the message was clear that the tour operators understand the present situation of the lack of non-direct flights to Paris, and they were committed to be more innovative in selling Seychelles as a tourism destination.
The Gulf carriers - Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airline - are presently conquering the Europe routes with an increase in their weekly flights.
Minister Morgan said that the Seychelles government is in the process of negotiating a bilateral air agreement with Turkish Airlines, which could be offering Seychelles-Europe routes.
In January 2013, Air Seychelles will start its three weekly flights to Beijing. In addition, Seychelles government is anticipating reopening discussions with Air Austral for a back-to-back operation on the Paris-Reunion routes.
In regards to visitors’ and tourism establishments’ security and safety on La Digue island, the Seychelles government is more committed than ever for upholding the approach of “zero tolerance” against those who are threatening the growth of the tourism industry on the island.
A police patrol will be reinforced both on land and on the beaches. Minister Morgan has commissioned the deployment of a senior police officer on La Digue to oversee that law and security are strengthened.
There’s also a plan to increase lifeguard and police patrol on Petit Anse, Anse Coco, and Source d’argent - La Digue’s most populous beaches - for visitors safety.