Seychelles tourism success aided by NO VISA policy


The Seychelles recent success in making big gains in tourism arrivals, often entirely credited to the privatisation of the tourist board two years ago, has many fathers though, the outstanding performance of Alain St. Ange’s tourism marketing team, globally acknowledged for that matter, notwithstanding.

A determined push into new and emerging markets, like Russia for instance, was aided by the archipelago’s policy of NO VISA REQUIRED, which leaves travellers free of worries over admission, getting their Visa in time or the cost associated with getting the bloody things in terms of time and money.

Emirates, the award winning UAE airline, too showed they are ‘skysmart’ – freely translated from ‘streetsmart’ when they decided to go double daily by late 2011 with already 10 flights in place and two more coming by the end of the month. Passengers NOT needing Visa decide with greater ease for a destination and airlines flying to the archipelago are not likely to find themselves heavily fined for carrying passengers with forged or no Visa as it happens in other destinations Emirates flies to.

When coming to the Seychelles, as long as passengers hold a return ticket, have a confirmed hotel reservation and sufficient cash to pay for their local expenses – and in the case of coming from certain parts of Africa have a current Yellow Fever inoculation certificate – everyone is welcomed to experience the ‘Creole Paradise’ a thousand miles away from everywhere else.

It is this ‘open door’ policy which has contributed considerably to the Seychelles’ success in marketing their islands as other destinations, especially those in direct competition, require Visa which for many nationalities are difficult to obtain at best, either because the bureaucracy is ‘tough’ or the nearest embassy or High Commission far away. When one hears squabbles breaking out, like recently from sections of the Zanzibari tourism trade when Tanzania signed a Memorandum of Understanding for twin centre holidays, those complaining about ‘loss of business’ should first and foremost address reasons which keep travellers away from their own shores, what can be done to make coming to a destination more attractive and hassle free, and more cost effective for long haul travellers and take a leaf from countries like the Seychelles, where according to a regular source in Victoria / Mahe it goes like this: ‘when you check into your flight to Seychelles, you and your bags will arrive here in our island paradise and all hassle and troubles will be routed to the other end of the world’ [the particular airport which was mentioned was left unprinted to avoid upsetting those concerned].

In contrast, here in East Africa countries are for years talking about a common Visa permitting visitors to travel to all EAC member states at a go, but without any results while keeping individual Visa fees high, which 50 US Dollars per person per country actually is, while at least Kenya has for the time being stuck to their fee of 25 US Dollars per person AND grants a free re-entry in case a visitor hops across the border to say Uganda and then returns to Kenya to stay for some time. Yet, overall, having NO Visa fees is worth considering, in particular when seeing the benefits such a political decision has brought to the archipelago. So GO VISIT SEYCHELLES, entrance is free …

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