Seychelles tourism industry stands united, ready for the challenges of 2012

Louis DOffay, long serving chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, has over the weekend voiced his members concerns over what they felt would be a tough 2012, considering the withdrawal of all European services by Air Seychelles. Stating that all members of SHTA must and do have a say in matters concerning the tourism industry, he went on to add: The SHTA is all about tourism in Seychelles, the hotels, DMCs, car hires and boat operators and not just the business of a few hotel operators.
Pointing at the higher cost of doing business, like the significant increase in tariffs for electricity and the increase in VAT which is making the destination more expensive for visitors, Mr. DOffay also asked government to increase recources availed to SHTA to allow the association to play the crucial private sector counterpart function and work hand in hand with government and the Seychelles Tourism Board as equals.
In turn, STBs CEO Alain St. Ange, who had joined his SHTA colleagues for a walk in the ocean at Au Cap, announced the 2012 arrival target was showing a modest increase from the 2011 all time record of over 194.000 visitors to 200.000 estimated arrivals. This, Mr. St. Ange pointed out, would be possible by tapping increasingly into new and emerging markets, using the sharply grown number of air links now available by Gulf based airlines.
In the meantime it was also learned that the dual approach of marketing the islands as both a top end destination but also as an affordable destination, would intensify in 2012. STB, following the restructuring in 2009, introduced the tagline Affordable Seychelles, paying special attention to budget travelers intent to staying in guest houses, B&Bs, holiday villas and apartments, squashing the notion that the Seychelles was purely for the rich and famous, while of course continuing to promote the luxury market with equal vigour, highlighting the new 5 star resorts which have opened since the turnaround of the industry following the 2008 global economic crisis.
Mr. DOffay was accompanied by association secretary Daniella Alis-Payet, association treasurer Alan Mason, the SHTAs recently appointed Executive Director Raymond St. Ange and the CEO of Nature Seychelles Dr. Nirmal Shah. Watch this space as the March 02 04 Carnaval International de Victoria now rapidly approaches.

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