Optimism is high that Seychelles has made a clear penetration in Reunion as arrival numbers from this market currently stands at 40% on the figure of last year, thus indicating a record by end of December 2010.
A Seychelles delegation who was participating in the Foire International de le Reunion returned home last week, satisfied that Seychelles is being more and more appealing to the Reunionnais travelers. This could only effect positively on the arrival figures and the trade stands to benefit from that growing market.
Already, all Air Austral flights to Seychelles during this coming festive season are fully booked and many Reunionnais have had to reschedule their holiday while others have taken up the option of connecting via Mauritius.
Seychelles was represented at the Reunion trade fair by the Seychelles Tourism Board and six companies – Creole Travel Services, Mason’s Travel, Desroches Island Resort, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay, Castello Beach Hotel, and Château St Cloud.
The fair was purely for consumers and Seychelles made quite an impact with its stand, which had a background of the Anse Lazio beach. A raffle draw was also held for a holiday in Seychelles.
Talking on the fair, Sharen Venus who is responsible for the Reunion market at Seychelles Tourism Board, said the interest in Seychelles is growing rapidly since the Tourism Board started a series of promotions on that market last year.
“The interest and excitement to visit a place like Seychelles is so strong on this market, and we hope to see a continued rise in the number of visitors from there,” she said.
She explained that Seychelles’ continued exposure in Reunion has helped a lot to quell the perception that the islands are a luxury destination and expensive.
“Our promotions like this … are enabling us to reach out to a good percentage of the population to say that Seychelles is for all budgets, as we have different ranges of accommodation,” she said.
Ms. Venus said she also felt there was a lack of information among the public on the destination itself, whereas the trade professionals such as travel agents are better geared towards the Seychelles product.
“This is why we participated in this consumer fair so as to meet the public and offer them the information they need. We are happy that many of them made up their minds of visiting Seychelles right there on the stand, after talking with representatives of the hotels and deciding where they would like to stay.”
The Seychelles Tourism Board’s Chief Executive Officer, Alain St.Ange, said that Seychelles had put its resources behind the repositioning of the Creole Islanmds in La Reunion. “Today, because of our efforts, we can see a huge increase in visitor arrival numbers from a sister island and a close neighbor. The People of Seychelles are also close to the Reunion People, because we share close historical links,” Alain St.Ange said.