KENYA AN IMPORTANT SOURCE MARKET FOR SEYCHELLES AS STB PARTICIPATES IN SPOTLIGHT WORKSHOPS
(Posted 22nd July 2017)
Seychelles had the opportunity to boost the knowledge of Kenyan travel agents, enticing them to promote and sell the island destination among Kenya’s outbound tourism market, as the Seychelles Tourism Board joined the recent Spotlight workshops in Nairobi.
The workshops were conducted at the Raddison Blu Hotel and the Villa Rosa Kempiniski in Nairobi.
Seychelles was among 10 tourist destinations at the two-day event, which saw the participation of some 30 exhibitors and 187 participating travel agents.
Kenyan Travel agents at the Seychelles’ table were treated to detailed presentations made by the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Senior Marketing Executive, Mrs. Amia Jovanovic-Desir.
The Spotlight Travel workshops is an initiative of Derek Houston’s ‘Houston Travel Marketing Services‘ that has been organising such workshops in Nairobi and other parts of Africa and Europe over the past 15 years. The aim is to promote outbound travel from Kenya to inter-regional destinations within East Africa, as well as to the rest of Africa and the Indian Ocean.
For Seychelles, the recent spotlights workshop was the perfect opportunity to shed more light on the destination’s products and services, which local trade partners are offering to the different market segments.
Mrs. Jovanovic-Desir noted that ‘In order to better sell the destination, one should have sound knowledge of the range of products and services on offer. However, this is one lacking raised by the agents who attended the training, which they say is hindering the firm demand and sales, when it comes to the Seychelles market‘.
Statistics show that visitor arrivals to Seychelles from key markets in the region, including Kenya have dropped in 2017. From January to June, Seychelles welcomed a total of 823 visitors from Kenya compared to 1,044 visitors during the same period in 2016, which represents a drop of 21 percent. This is in spite of direct air links, with Kenya Airways having served the Nairobi-Seychelles route for many years.
Mrs. Jovanovic-Desir seized the opportunity at the spotlight workshops to hold discussions with representatives of Kenya Airways on how to consolidate the partnership which exists between the two sides and further combine their efforts on a more strategic marketing approach.
‘We have thus agreed to work together so as to encourage more educational trips, as well as media visits, this will offer them the opportunity to experience the destination from the broader angle‘ she said.
Mrs Jovanovic-Desir added that such visits will allow the agents to have a better understanding of Seychelles which is a destination that aims to welcome tourists from all market segments, and also offers affordable products, including accommodations owned by the locals that tend to offer personalised services.
Kenya’s expatriate community on the lookout for short-haul flights to destinations offering the perfect retreat, as well as those looking for twin-sector experiences were also highlighted as potential markets.
The desire and determination to make Seychelles one of the destinations they envision to push on the Kenyan market was very apparent, through questions raised by the tour operators, who also left comments highlighting their desire to visit Seychelles and giving their commitment to promote the destination the best they can.
‘Amazing, stunning destination. The presentation was wonderful‘ said Topster Moraa from Johnson Tours and Travels International.
Commenting on the outcome of the workshops, Mrs. Jovanovic-Desir who is confident that the exposure will lead to results in the near future said the majority of the agents who attended the presentations have never been to Seychelles to experience the destination personally, thus justifying the lack of destination awareness.
‘Such workshops should be encouraged mainly on markets where we cannot bring most of the key tour operators and travel agents to our shores to sample the destination, after all, seeing is believe. After all, one has to take action if you want anything to happen‘ she concluded her remarks.