The Seychelles delegates, who were taking part in the Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) from February 17 to 26 in India, have returned in the country, satisfied with the interest Seychelles gained as a holiday destination for the Indian market.
OTM is India’s leading outbound show that brings together all segments of the global travel industry, from over 60 countries. It was held in the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, with OTM Mumbai exhibition taking place on February 17-19, and the exhibition of OTM New Delhi on February 24 -26.
Representing Seychelles at OTM was the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Senior Marketing Executive Amia Jovanovic Desir and her Marketing Executive, Stephanie Lablache, together with five local partners. The five local partners were Desroches Island Seychelles represented by Amanda Lang, Le Relax Resort with Robert Toussaint and Pravin Darad as this Hotel Group’s Representatives, Raffles Praslin represented by Shadi Karameh, Masons Travel with Jessica Giroux, and SELECT-SEYCHELLES represented by Shamita Palit.
Seychelles had an 18 sqm stand at both exhibitions, decorated with a destination-beach back-drop depicting the core image of its beautiful islands.
Members of the delegations have said that many visitors were attracted to the Seychelles stand with queries to increase their knowledge, while, others were so eager and excited to either share their experience with them after having been there on holidays.
“Those who wanted to know more to fulfill their thirst with more information and destination knowledge would listen attentively,” they said. Indeed the Coco de Mer nut, which was on display, no doubt served its due purpose to attract curious visitors. “The interests were immense, and all the trade partners who attended the fairs have acknowledged that Seychelles is a hot-spot destination for the Indian travel market segment,” said Mrs. Jovanovic-Desir, “Increasing our presence by conducting workshops, encouraging more agents and media groups to visit and experience the products and services, will help to better position the destination in this market. Needless to mention, the result and level of impact should a Bollywood star set foot to our shores,” she added.
Seychelles is one of the hot-spot destinations, and it is the place to be as the Indians are looking for a change and shift in their taste, pointed out some of the Indian travel trade. The destination is the “perfect” match for their taste, confirmed some sales agents.
OTM has crossed the 10.8 million mark and it is still growing rapidly at the rate of more than 17 percent per annum. More, importantly, with the growing middle class and the future economy, which looks very promising, it is expected that the Indian outbound travel market will cross the 50 million mark by 2020, and by educating the Indian outbound travelers about Seychelles, will surely lead to a sound increase in the number of visitors from India to its shores.
As of last year, the Seychelles delegation proudly clinched two awards: the Best Print Promotional materials in Mumbai and that of the Most Exclusive Leisure Product in Delhi.
On February 26, the Seychelles participants were hosted to a special dinner for a job well done by Waven William, the newly-appointed Ambassador to India, and Jean-Claude Adrienne, the First Secretary, who were both present at the opening ceremony of the OTM New Delhi.
Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism & Culture, has congratulated the private sector partners who accompanied the Tourism Board to India. “You have shown that you want to work with the Tourism Board to open up this potential market. We shall support your initiatives and will assist you as we move with airline partners to break into this market,” Minister St.Ange said.
Elsia Grandcourt, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, on her part said that India remains an important target market for Seychelles and that 2012 will continue to see new initiatives in that potential market.