Seychelles was being represented at the expo for business and leisure travel in China by a small delegation comprised of Seychelles tourism professionals from the Seychelles Tourism Board and the local destination management companies of Mason’s Travel and 7°South.
The trade fair in China was held from September 16-18, 2011 at the Guilin International Conference&Exhibition Centre, where it brought forth the participation of 59 countries worldwide including that of Seychelles. Also taking part at the exhibition, were 19 provinces and over 80 cities from China. The launching of the exhibition started off with a Gala Dinner on September 17, followed the next day by the opening ceremony, whereby the Seychelles flag floated proudly together with those of the other participating countries throughout the event.
Seychelles participation at the exhibition saw the islands awarded with the “Best Organized Booth Award,” ahead of all the participating countries. Over 40 local tour operators in the Guangxi Province from Nanning (the capital of Guangxi), Guilin (host city), and Yangshuo City visited the Seychelles booth and showed high interest in Seychelles as a destination. This included the major tour operators such as CCT (China Comfort Travel), CITS (China International Travel Service), CYTS (China Youth Travel Service), and CTS (China Travel Service).
Jean-Luc Lai-Lam, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s marketing executive based in China, has said that the China Guilin International Tourism Expo was the ideal gathering point to get Seychelles known in this market with the large number of China professionals in the travel and leisure industry being present. “The Seychelles stand at the China Guilin International Tourism Expo has helped to elevate the visibility of Seychelles islands, with media coverage provided by local media agencies such as Xinhua News Agency Guangxi (TV), Guilin Radio, and Guilin Evening News,” said Mr. Lai-Lam. A total of over 6,000 trade visitors and over 160,000 public visitors attended the 3-day exhibition.
After the tourism trade fair in China, Seychelles was then showcased in Moscow at the Otdykh Leisure Trade Show, which was held between September 21-24. Representing the islands at the Moscow tourism trade show were representatives of the Seychelles Tourism Board and trade partners, namely Air Seychelles, Raffles Hotels, and the local destination management company 7°South who once again ensured that the Seychelles remains visible in Russia and in the surrounding region.
Andre Butler-Payet, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s marketing executive for Eastern Europe who is based in Hungary, has said the island’s tourism board recognizes the true potential that lies in Russia as an important emerging market with unprecedented purchasing power. “The Otdykh Leisure Trade Show was a stepping stone to tap into that potential, bringing Seychelles to the forefront as the ideal destination for Russian travelers,” he reiterated.
Russia is currently Seychelles’ sixth largest market, and despite the adverse effects of the global economy over the past few years, the country’s market share continues to grow steadily year-on-year in terms of visitor arrivals. This trade fair was significant in assuring that Seychelles has to position itself as the preferred holiday destination for Russians in order to cement this growth, said Mr Butler-Payet. “The message received from this trade fair is that Seychelles should increase its promotions and tourism campaigns to ensure more penetration in the region, as well as to reconfirm its commitment for next year’s trade fair considering its importance for our tourism industry,” he added.
Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, has said that the continued participation of the Seychelles at these different tourism trade fairs is in line with the island’s policy of diversification. “As we continue to work to consolidate our European market, we need to open new doors for our industry that remains the pillar of our economy, so it can continue to grow,” said Alain St.Ange.