The Seychelles islands’ monthly visitor numbers remarkably peaked to new heights last April. The Visitor Statistical Bulletin, issued by the Seychelles National Bureau, has shown that an outstanding figure of 20,049 visitors arrived in Seychelles during the month of April, which is an all-time monthly high for Seychelles’ tourism industry.
The registered 20,049 visitor arrival figures reflects an increase of 5 percent compared to April last year. For the period January-April, Seychelles has welcomed 69,623 visitors on its shores, which is an 8 percent growth over the same period last year.
The tropical mid-ocean islands of Seychelles is holding up the positive visitor arrivals despite of the low performance of its traditional markets that has resulted from the pull out of the direct flights of Air Seychelles from France and Italy. The upward visitor arrival numbers can be accredited to the intensified effort of the Seychelles Tourism Board and trade partners to increase visibility of the islands and equally, the islands’ approach of diversification and tapping into new markets.
“The plan of action to diversify the target markets, and plan to intensify the island’s visibility campaign came out of the annual marketing meetings of the Seychelles Tourism Board. The 2010 Marketing Meeting set the initial plan of action, which was further consolidated and enhanced at the 2011 meeting held alongside the La Reunion Tourism Authority (IRT). Today, we are happy that the foresight of the Tourism Board and their pro-activeness is bringing positive results for Seychelles,” Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism&Culture said.
The decisions taken at the last two annual marketing meetings have helped the island to stabilize its visitor arrival figures, as it looks to redress shortfalls from traditional key markets. The policy to diversify has enabled the Tourism Board to make up on the void that would have been otherwise created by the decrease in visitors’ flow from the traditional markets of France and Italy.
The visitor arrival figures for the 2012 four-month period show that the highest growth was from Asia which increased by 40 percent, in particular China and the Middle East increased by 75 percent and 36 percent, respectively; Africa increased by 5 percent; Europe by 4 percent; and although Oceania and Americas increased by 27 percent and 12 percent, respectively, their market is very small and less than 4 percent. Europe remains the largest market with a market share of 74 percent, with Germany showing an increase of 24 percent, Switzerland 18 percent, Austria 58 percent, and Scandinavia 7 percent, while Russia has shown the highest increase of 68 percent from the region when comparing for the same period in 2011. Meanwhile, decreases in visitor arrivals have been recorded from France (20 percent), Italy (11 percent), Belgium&Luxembourg (10 percent), and Spain&Portugal (4 percent). Visitor arrivals from the Netherlands on the other hand remain the same.
To date, the 6 biggest source of visitors to Seychelles are from France (13,330), followed by Germany (8,294), Italy (6,975), Russia (6,190), South Africa (3,713), and sixth UK&Eire (3,077). Russia and South Africa is now the fourth and fifth largest market while the UK has dropped to sixth. Tourism remains the chief pillar of the Seychelles economy, as the country continues to rely heavily on the industry as the main source of foreign currency earner for the islands. The continued success of the Seychelles tourism industry is, therefore, crucial to the country’s economic growth.