NEW VISITOR RECORD SETS TONE FOR 2013
The jury’s verdict is in and the number was exactly 208.034 – being the combined arrivals of visitors by air and sea in the Seychelles for the year 2012.
The increase of well over 8 percent compared with 2011 was largely supported by the tourist board’s strategy of market diversification, as across the past year new and emerging markets more than made up for the loss of share in the formerly traditional core markets like France. There in particular has the lack of nonstop flights, among other reasons, led to a decline by 18 percent in visitors to the archipelago. Other markets, which equally lost nonstop flights when Air Seychelles, now under the management of Etihad which prefers traffic to route via their Abu Dhabi hub, pulled out from Europe are the UK with a decline of 15 percent and Italy with a decline of 8 percent. This according to senior tourism sources in the Seychelles shows that there is clearly a link between the convenience of nonstop travel and market performance, reiterating calls to restore nonstop services to Paris as soon as possible.
The biggest market gains though came from China, which responded to a relentless marketing blitz with a 111 percent increase in visitor numbers, aided by close cooperation with Gulf airlines led by Emirates, now flying 12 times a week to Mahe, and Qatar Airways, flying daily. The introduction of flights in a few weeks time by Air Seychelles to Hong Kong, though via Abu Dhabi to make the new route financially viable until traffic volumes will permit a switch to nonstop flights, will further add to this trend.
The United Arab Emirates recorded a 52 percent rise of visitors to the Seychelles, again supported by repeated marketing and sales missions to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and an overall 28 frequencies between the UAE and Mahe by Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad and Air Seychelles, the latter two flying under code share agreements.
Russia showed a 35 percent rise in passengers, South Africa 18 percent, the Americas 18 percent and the Pacific region by still a remarkable 12 percent, proving STB’s marketing strategies for these market to be spot on and affirming their partnership with in particular leading Gulf airlines to promote the Seychelles in these regions.
With the start of the new year the annual calendar of events in the Seychelles is now going underway again, led by their Carnaval de Carnivals, when the world of carnival will come to the Carnival International de Victoria between the 08th and 10th of February. That top rated festival now being just a month away, groups from Brazil, the UK’s Nottingham Carnival, from the heartland of Germany’s carnival in Duesseldorf and only confirmed overnight from Namur in Belgium will join hands to thrill the crowds lining the streets of Victoria with others from Africa and the beyond. Expect live reports from the archipelago, capturing the moments when carnival takes over life in Victoria for that weekend and a lot more. Seychelles, truly Another World.