The Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, met with a high-level trade delegation from Thailand who is on a working visit to Seychelles. Minister St.Ange addressed the issue of having connecting flights linking mainland Thailand with Seychelles.
“Seychelles is often referred to as the gateway to the African continent. With new dynamism in open air access, we should explore new grounds of connecting Seychelles with Thailand and on to mainland Africa if needed. This request was conveyed to the high-level delegation from Thailand for their consideration and for further discussion with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN. The availability of direct flights from Thailand to Seychelles with the possibility of an onward flight to mainland Africa will bring potential visitors to the twin center destination approach and open up new attractions to discerning passengers,” Minister St.Ange said.
Thailand is presently operating weekly direct flights bound to the African hubs of Johannesburg and Nairobi with a Boeing A340. With the recent pull-out of the Seychelles national Airline – Air Seychelles – from Singapore and before that from Thailand, the number of visitor arrivals from these destinations to the Seychelles has dropped.
The Vice President of the Thailand Board of Trade, Phairush Boraphuchausor, has welcomed the Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism and Culture’s proposal of direct flights, adding that “Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN community block is generating an increasing outflow of honeymooners for dream destinations into the Maldives.”
He said that “Seychelles, which is also featured as a honeymoon destination, which is affordable and accessible for low- and high-end visitors, offers the ideal dream packages for clients seeking a unique destination.”
The Vice President of the Thailand Board outlined that the proposal for direct flights linking Thailand, Seychelles, and mainland Africa will be presented to the authorities concerned, and the outcome will be briefed to Minister Alain St.Ange.
The Vice President of the Thailand Board of Trade, Phairush Boraphuchausor, also took the opportunity of the meeting to extend an invitation for Minister St.Ange to come to Thailand and meet with the respective tourism and airline bodies to discuss this issue further.
Minister St.Ange also spoke about the Routes Africa forum, which Seychelles will host between July 8-10, 2012, which he said “will be an opportune platform for networking and open discussions on open air access.”
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Elsia Grandcourt, present in the meeting, advocated the need to develop service- and expertise-oriented exchanges in the tourism industry between Thailand and the Seychelles Tourism Academy.
“Thailand has ample areas of expertise in the tourism sector. Wellness and spa is an area which Thailand has excelled in, and Seychelles, which has set the benchmark of becoming a specialized wellness and spa destination, could use Thailand’s expertise and service-oriented business skills to develop this sector. Seychelles is not looking at competing with Thailand in these sectors but complementing on what both destinations have to offer.”
The Vice President of Thailand’s Board of Trade explained that Thailand’s private sectors also excel in tourism management, a sector which he said that Seychelles could also benefit from, alongside wellness and spa.
Minister St.Ange and Mrs. Grandcourt also spoke about the 2013 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria 2013. Minister St.Ange extended an invitation to Thailand to participate with a delegation in the carnival that is held annually in Seychelles.
Thailand Consul Mr. Joe Chung Faye and Mrs. Chung Faye were also present at the meeting that took place at the Tourism Board’s Bel Ombre offices.