The Seychelles Tourism Board, Middle East, in partnership with Emirates Holidays, have joined forces at this year’s Dive Middle East Exhibition, which is held alongside the Dubai International Boat Show, to increase awareness of the impressive diving opportunities the Seychelles offers.
This year was the 20th year anniversary of the Dubai International Boat Show, and the Dive Middle East Exhibition has been in partnership with the event for the last 6 years, of which Seychelles has attended now for the fourth time.
The Seychelles Tourism Board, Middle East, works very closely in the region with the Emirates Diving Association, the co-organizer of this event, to raise its profile to the diving community and increase the number of visitors to the islands.
“The Emirates Diving Association has been very supportive in promoting the Seychelles islands to their diving members and offering us many opportunities to engage further to increase awareness of our unique destination. They have partnered with us in supporting ‘Subios - the Seychelles Festival of the Sea’ in addition to sending out diving trips to the destination,” said Ahmed Fathallah, Regional Manager, Seychelles Tourism Office, Middle East.
“The Seychelles have achieved significant growth from the Middle East market in 2011, receiving over 12,800 visitors from this region, a 57 percent increase from the UAE market and 24 percent from the remaining Middle East markets,” said Ahmed Fathallah.
“Visitors to our stand came from the four corners of the world and consisted of both expatriates and Middle Eastern nationals. The inquiries and expressions of interest received on fishing, sailing, and diving during the event were beyond our expectations. There were also inquiries on honeymoon and wedding packages. We look forward to increasing our market share from this important market,” said Aliette Esther, Tourism Attaché, Embassy of the Republic of Seychelles, Abu Dhabi.
Commenting on the work taking place by the Seychelles Offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Alain St.Ange, the Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, said that it was always important to bear in mind that Seychelles has more air connectivity with the Middle East Area that remains a major tourist market that lies but four-and-a-half hours of flight time from Seychelles’ shores. “We remain well suited to both the Emirates Nationals and the expatriate community, because we are a holiday destination with no visa requirements, that is so close to the Middle East, that is safe, and that is disease free,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
Elsia Grandcourt, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said that her board’s two offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi would continue to work with private sector businesses who wanted to attract visitors from that important market. “ATM, the Dubai Tourism Trade Fair in May, was the next venue where Seychelles would be out to show its commitment to work on that market, and the Tourism Board would be working with the local partners attending ATM to help them open new doors and to increase their visibility on that market,” Elsia Grandcourt said.