NEW MARKETING STRATEGY PRESENTED TO STAKEHOLDERS
Following the ‘inhouse’ strategy sessions last week at the Hilton Labriz and interaction with stakeholders on the direction the tourism marketing strategy for 2013 is to take, was the new policy paper formally presented to the public over the weekend, while at the same time also celebrating UNWTO’s announcement that for the first time ever a billion people travelled in 2012.
The Secretary of State in the Office of the President Mr. Barry Faure, who is also the Chairman of the Seychelles Tourism Board was at hand as was the Minister of Tourism and Culture Mr. Alain St. Ange, accompanied by Louis D’Offay, Chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, when Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt, CEO of STB, presented the new marketing strategy to the assembled stakeholders.
Mrs. Grandcourt said: ‘The Seychelles Tourism Board Global Strategy vision is to achieve for Seychelles the status of the most desirable island destination on the market offering the unique, Seychellois way of life, at the right price, and within a sustainable eco-friendly environment. In its drive to further raise visitor numbers, the Seychelles Tourism Board will continue to develop and maintain an authentic, dynamic and sustainable product at home, based on professionalism and value for money, innovation, and cost effective marketing campaigns throughout core and emerging markets’.
She then continued by highlighting the targets set for next year, including the strategic priorities which have been identified to be the following: Brand Awareness, Niche Market Development, Education, Product Delivery of Market Needs, Events Positioning, Market Segment, E-Strategy and last but not least Research.
Before Elsia’s presentation of the 2013 marketing strategy, Mr. Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture explained that the role of the Seychelles Tourism Board is to go into the marketplace to promote Seychelles and get Seychelles more visible.
Touching on the diversification of Seychelles markets, the Minister pointed out that ‘Seychelles is today lucky, as over two years ago we moved to diversify our target market which today is making up for the void made by the losses from the main traditional core markets of France, the UK and Italy.’
The Minister explained that Seychelles had invested a lot over the years in getting itself known in these core traditional markets, and this is why during the two-day marketing meeting, emphasis was placed on re-looking at the Seychelles strategy for these main core markets.
‘Budget for marketing has always been a point of criticism of the Government, and discussions on that matter was always raised by everyone in Seychelles. Today Government has heard this plea, and today Government has come up with a solution for everyone who benefits from tourism to help with its marketing for the benefit of every investor, large or small and to help guarantee the consolidation of our island’s tourism industry. The smaller Seychellois investors in tourism are set to benefit from the increased visibility campaigns from the marketing fund, and this will ensure that visitor arrival numbers continue to grow as per the country’s set targets This will in due course increase the yield from tourism as supply and demand logics kicks in. The Tourism Board just needs to continue to market and to diversify the target markets as they have been guided by the trade during the Marketing Strategy meeting and by the Marketing Committee set up in conjunction with the private sector’ Minister St. Ange said.
‘Alone the Seychelles Tourism Board will not get far’ the Minister emphasized before continuing ‘This is why Seychelles needs to continue to work with partners as we are doing with the ICPT and Vanilla Islands concepts. In unity, we have a stronger region and as we make it stronger, we will find that we will get more business to the region’. He also appealed to the whole of the Seychelles tourism industry to work together to protect and defend the industry which the main pillar of Seychelles economy.
From observations made, directly and through interaction with a number of stakeholders over the years in the Seychelles, the archipelago’s tourism industry has forged a remarkable cooperation between the private and public sector and while at times discussion pressing issues with emotion and passion, have been united in public when promoting the country. This has undoubtedly set the destination apart from other countries, where often public spats and squabbles between public and private sectors impact on the effectiveness of marketing efforts. Whatever differences exist, they are largely dealt with behind closed doors and effectively resolved before they cause damaging headlines. And it has to be said here, the Seychelles arguably run the smartest worldwide network to engage with the global media to keep the destination in the headlines way beyond a country of this size would ordinarily see happen. Clearly, it is not size which matters here but the beautiful Creole nature of the people, nature galore, pristine beaches, more than half of the territory dedicated to conservation and an immense pride and passion to tell the story, day in day out. Seychelles, truly Another World.