Visitor arrivals to the Seychelles during the week of the 2011 Seychelles carnival soared by 2%, and this has been attributed in majority to the participants from the 21 foreign floats who traveled to the islands for the big event.
A total 4,305 visitors arrived in Seychelles during the week ending Sunday March 6, which was the last day of the “Carnaval International de Victoria,” bringing the total for the last four weeks to 15,599 visitors. This represented a 2% growth on the 2010 level.
Foreign participants joined an array of local floats in the streets of the Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, during three days of carnival festivities on the main island of Mahé. Foreign interest and participation in the carnival surpassed the organizers’ expectations as they positioned Seychelles as the “melting pot of cultures” over the weekend of March 4, 5, and 6.
The carnival program included the launching of the “Carnaval International de Victoria” by Seychelles’ President James Michel, a 65-float procession including such countries as Brazil, India, France, Italy, China, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, and Hawaii, as well as a family fun day.
Participants and support personnel from the 21 foreign floats who contributed greatly to the vibrancy of the first edition of the carnival, also helped to swell visitor numbers in Mahé’s larger hotels where they mostly stayed together as groups. It is anticipated, as the carnival gains recognition as an international event, that the number of foreign spectators will also increase.
The Seychelles Tourism Board has welcomed the increase in arrival numbers during the carnival week and said next year should produce a healthier growth.
“As we market the carnival more throughout this year as an international attraction, we hope to see better figures next year picking up during the carnival week,” said the CEO of the Tourism Board, Alain St.Ange, who added that the first edition of the international carnival has been a huge success.
“We do not only want to bring more international participants to Seychelles, but we also want tourists to know about this carnival so that they can plan their holidays here in the tropics, to coincide with the event,” he added. Next year’s carnival will be held from March 2-4, 2012.