SEYCHELLES NEW ARRIVAL RECORD FIGURES 11 PERCENT UP
Data availed overnight show an impressive 11 percent arrival growth for the Seychelles in 2012, making it the second record breaking year in a row after 2010. 194.753 visitors had arrived across the year, more than twice the number of people actually living on the archipelagos islands. France, the UK, Germany and Italy were the top producer markets but emerging markets showed encouraging trends and proved the strategy of market diversification of the Seychelles Tourism Board right. Chinas visitor numbers almost doubled with a 97 percent growth while the Middle Eastern market grew by 44 percent in 2012 as a result of the increase in flight frequencies from Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi. Africas market share reached a respectable 12 percent, underscoring the fact that the no Visa policy of the Seychelles actually works in favour of African visitors, who need little else but a return airticket, a confirmed hotel booking and a yellow fever inoculation certificate to be welcomes to the Creole island paradise for a holiday of a lifetime.
The Seychelles Tourism Board had forecast a 7 percent rise in visitor numbers, exceeding their own predictions by a further 4 percent, benefitting from the huge publicity generated by the Royal Honeymoon, their first ever Carnaval Festival and a simply never relenting marketing blitz around the world which did not stop nor lose momentum throughout the year.
For 2012 the outlook is cautiously optimistic, and though nagging doubts remain over the impact of national airline Air Seychelles withdrawing with little notice from all their European routes, a code share arrangement with Abu Dhabis Etihad may in weeks to come still capture that lost capacity and provide seats to wannabe travelers under an Air Seychelles flight number, though operated of course by Etihad. The arrival of Transaero, a Russian airline now flying 3 times a month to Mahe, and of Air Austral by the end of March, which will once again offer a nonstop link from Paris, three times a week, are however thought to help the Seychelles to meet their 2012 targets as will the planned commencement of flights by Ethiopian Airlines and Blue Panorama from Italy.
Alain St. Ange, the CEO of the tourism board, had this to say: The SHTA, the Hospitality & Tourism Association stood behind the Team at the Tourism Board in its efforts, and this has made it possible for Seychelles to achieve this record in visitor arrival numbers. The Government of the country has also supported the efforts of its Tourism Board and on more occasion than one, the President of the Republic himself led working visits in potential markets to help facilitate the work of the countrys tourism industry. He also paid tribute to the global media which have given the Seychelles significantly increased exposure over the past 12 months, spurred undoubtedly also by the Royal Honeymoon but were also notably fair in reporting two freak shark attacks in an accurate fashion.
Watch this space for regular news updates from the Seychelles and the other Vanilla Islands in the Indian Ocean.