SEYCHELLES AND CHINA SIGN MUTUAL VISA WAIVER
Confirmation was received today by a regular source from Mahe, that the Seychelles – already the only country not to require a Visa from visitors no matter where they come from around the world – and China have signed a mutual Visa waiver agreement, now also allowing Seychellois to fly to Hong Kong on Air Seychelles, and beyond on to the Chinese mainland, without having to go through the process of first getting a Visa.
China has been one of Seychelles fastest growing tourism source markets, to a large part for the country’s policy to admit every visitor to the archipelago as long as they have a return ticket, a confirmed hotel booking and funds to sustain their stay, although the natural beauty of the islands has captured the minds of Chinese travelers coming for weddings on the beach, honeymoons in the hammock and to enjoy the pristine nature of the islands.
The Seychelles, according to the information at hand, is the first country from Africa to sign such a ground breaking agreement with China, considered an exceptional appreciation of the close ties which have developed over the past years between the two nations.
Tourism sources have welcomed the move, saying it will make promoting the Seychelles in China now even easier as the bureaucracy and red tape to acquire a Visa have now been removed, allowing staff of resorts, DMC’s and tourism attractions to travel to China for trade fairs and sales calls at an instant’s notice.
Said one source on condition of anonymity for not being the official spokesperson of the organization: ‘Our open door policy is one of the main reasons for our success in attracting more tourist visitors. Our natural attractions, the best beaches and the best resorts, act like a magnet for many. Seychelles is a dream destination and we can make these dreams become reality. The start of flights by Air Seychelles to Hong Kong is a milestone in tapping the Chinese market. Other airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad, which between them fly more than two dozen times to Mahe every week, opened the market from the China mainland for us. But if Chinese would have to get Visa, we would not get as many visitors from there. The policy of our government to throw our doors wide open for everyone, apart from a few basic conditions like return ticket and hotel booking, is perhaps the single most important factor to facilitate tourists to come here. No Visa, no cost involved, no hassle, no waste of time. Just get on a plane, it is really as simple as that and through the tourism board website potential visitors can book so many resorts now on line and print their confirmation and that is all they need’.
The Seychelles have since 2009 recorded sustained growth in visitor arrivals and for 2013 expect a rise in arrivals of approximately 4 percent, but are by the look of it already ahead of this target for the first quarter of the year. Seychelles, truly Another World.