The Seychelles monthly visitor arrival statistics shows that the month of February 2012 has been the best month of February ever in the history of Seychelles tourism with an 8 percent increase in visitor arrival numbers over the same month in 2011.
The Statistics Bureau has published that 16,116 visitors landed in Seychelles in February 2012. This figure has been helped by the arrivals in the country for the annual Carnaval International de Victoria. “This is a fact, and this is one of the reasons why the annual carnival is staged in Seychelles. The carnival will bring in visitors, and they will stay in hotel accommodation in Seychelles. Some hotel entrepreneurs were on the ball and moved to attract the carnival delegations to their properties, and these hotels and guesthouses enjoyed a week of extremely high occupancy levels,” said Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture.
The Seychelles Tourism Board embarked on a two-pronged approached to diversification of the island’s tourism industry. They embarked on bringing Seychelles into the world of events following the announcement of the new tourism vision by President James Michel when he launched the “Seychelles Brand” of tourism for Seychelles. The President of the island republic wanted to see Seychelles move from just selling itself as a sand, sea, and sun holiday destination to one where activities also existed and where the spirit of personalized tourism could be entertained.
This vision has enabled the Tourism Board to organize an annual carnival that attracts many international carnival delegations to travel to Seychelles to be part of the carnival procession and also more and more carnival followers wanting to see another carnival staged with a difference. But the carnival was only one of the events falling under the management of the island’s Tourism Board under their “Celebrate Seychelles Events Department.” SUBIOS, their Festival of the Sea, was re-launched, A Seychelles Ball was launched, the Miss Seychelles pageant is being organized, the La Digue Island annual 15th August Feast of the Virgin Mary has been revamped, the Eco Healing Friendly Marathon gathered momentum, Marlin and Sailfish Competitions were taken up in the Tourism Board’s list of activities, the annual Sailing Regatta was re-looked at, and a Bashmet annual classical concert was launched. These events staged in Seychelles has helped get the islands much-needed press coverage in the four corners of the world.
“A more complete list of events managed by the Celebrate Seychelles Events Department will grow even more with the creation of the new Ministry of Tourism and Culture. A new look will be given to Festival Kreol as this is staged in Victoria, the Creole capital of the world. We shall also take time with the relevant partners involved to relook at FetAfrik, La Francophonie annual celebrations, and the Commonwealth celebrations. We are a country with diversity and proud to be the melting pot of cultures. We have historical links with our past that need to be harnessed. We will now work to unlock all our cultural potentials and through our Celebrate Seychelles Events Department, bring our cultural assets to the front and make then truly unique selling points of our country,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
Minister Alain St.Ange; Elsia Grandcourt, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board; and Benjamine Rose, the Principle Secretary for Culture, all remain determined to find partner countries to develop cultural-based events, which will showcase the historical links with these countries or to develop together the tourism appeal of the Equator Region of Africa and its Indian Ocean Islands.
The second approach to the concept of diversification was to move to open new tourist markets for Seychelles. The President of the Republic, Mr. James Michel, personally led working visits to China and India with the development of tourism firmly as a target. Today visitor arrival numbers are from many of the new markets being developed with China, Russia, the Middle East, Hungary, and others showing remarkable increases.
“We suffered with important drops in visitor arrival numbers from our traditional markets of France, Italy, and the UK since the pullout from Europe by Air Seychelles. This we will work to redress, because we cannot allow our share of any market to run away from us, but we need to also recognize that if our country’s arrival figures are not only holding, but increasing, it is because the Seychelles Tourism Board pursued the policy of diversification and worked hard with local private sector operators who wanted to also look at new horizons. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture will work with the Tourism Board and the private sector to continue working outside the box,” said Minister Alain St.Ange.