WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM RANKS SEYCHELLES TOP OF INDIAN OCEAN ISLANDS
The lastest rankings of the World Economic Forum has put the Seychelles in place 38 and named the archipelago the Number One in the region, ahead of other island nations like Mauritius, which only managed to make it to number 58 in the region, down by 5 places compared to the previous year, largely as a result of its flagging fortunes in the tourism industry.
The head of an IMF mission on the Seychelles recently in applauded the country for ‘outperforming many similar island destinations’, referring to the visibility of Brand Seychelles and its creative and innovative marketing and media campaigns to put the destination on the global map of big hitters.
While Mauritius’ had to yield the arrival record to the Maldives and is now struggling to fend off third placed Sri Lanka coming closely behind the 960.000 odd tourist arrivals in Mauritius, the Seychelles ‘only’ recorded around 205.000 arrivals but has a different strategy in not going for just the numbers but for market diversification, aimed to capture both the high end of the market as well as those travelers seeking the ‘Affordable Seychelles’ in support of their indigenous tourism businesses like guest houses, holiday villas and apartments and self catering establishments.
The Seychelles drive for quality and a well regulated business environment resulted in their WEF rankings to show an all time high for ‘strong affinity for travel and tourism’ where the archipelago ranks 5th and ‘good tourism infrastructure’ where it ranks 6th according to the World Economic Forum data just seen.
This year’s arrival forecast, conservatively put at only 3 percent, has already been outperformed over the first two months of 2013 with a nearly 20 percent rise in visitor numbers in January and February, largely attributed to the revival of Air Seychelles which has sealed code share deals with partners like Air Berlin, driving visitor numbers from Germany to all time highs, but also caused by the high visibility events like the Carnival International de Victoria, which has made waves across the global travel, leisure and lifestyle media across the world. Airline partnerships between the Seychelles Tourism Board and such giants as Emirates too are cited as factors for the Seychelles success in tourism, as are the government’s fullest support for the sector, with President James Alix Michel being the archipelago’s main ambassador during his regular visits abroad, ably assisted by tourism minister Alain St. Ange and STB CEO Elsia Grandcourt and their staff. As the saying here goes, Seychelles – Another World.