Seychelles visibility program gaining momentum
The Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles have been building up a visibility campaign with a difference. They played the press as never seen before and now have upped the stake with a new approach with the support of airlines flying to these tropical island destinations.
The first airport blitz being launched with the aim of increasing visibility of the islands can be seen at airports in Italy. Breathtaking pictures of Seychelles is today all over Italian airports put up with the support of Blue Panorama, the Italian Airline operating a weekly service to Seychelles from Milan and Rome.
Seychelles has been aggressive in the way it tackled its marketing campaign. The new drive started when the Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel, took over the portfolio for tourism in his government and appointed his Secretary of State, Mr. Barry Faure, as Chairman of the island’s tourism Board with Alain St.Ange as the Board’s CEO.
Alain St.Ange had come from the private sector with years of experience and became the driving force behind the successes of the Seychelles Tourism Board. He was everywhere and raised the profile of the islands across the world. The Seychelles Tourism Board was a private sector driven board as they had a majority of private sector representatives who oversaw the policy planning of the board’s operations. They provided guidance and advocated efficiency and a proactive approach that went against the normal bureaucracy of heavy administrations. The private sector saw tourism with a new private sector eye and ensured that the 8 to 4 mentality disappeared from the Tourism Board.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The successes of the Seychelles Tourism Board is evident for all to see. Mr. Barry Faure, the Chairman of the Tourism Board, and his Board members have been true to their responsibilities, and they have ensured that the team running tourism under their leadership delivered for Seychelles. Today, even when the island’s traditional main tourism markets are suffering because of their own ongoing economic difficulties compounded with the loss of direct nonstop flights since the disappearance of Air Seychelles on these same key markets, the country’s arrival figures are still recording an increase of 10 percent over the 2011 figures,” said Alain St.Ange the new Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recently announced that this year, tourism movements will jump the 1 billion mark. This world figure is the barometer used by the UNWTO. Seychelles had budgeted its own target for the current year and to date, the island’s performance is reported to be on target with all overseas offices of the Board working hard to maintain the visibility of the islands at all international tourism trade fairs and forums.
The new cooperation between airlines and the Tourism Board, as is now so visible at airports in Italy in partnership with Blue Panorama Airline, and as was seen by Emirates for the 2012 Carnaval International de Victoria, and with Etihad for SUBIOS, the Seychelles Festival of the Sea, and as will be seen with Air Seychelles for the coming Miss Seychelles Beauty Pageant, are increasing the presence of the islands across the world tourism stage. “This is exactly what was asked for by the tourism industry members sitting on the Tourism Board: visibility and more visibility for the islands, and this is what the islands are today getting. This is also why we can happily say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Seychelles Tourism Board has delivered for Seychelles and will continue to do so with dedication and seriousness,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
Long-haul tourism destinations like Seychelles are facing the new carbon tax, and they will need to fight even harder for their share of the market. This is why the approach by the Seychelles, to consistently seek to increase visibility of their unique selling points, was seen as new, innovative, and fresh.