Support for Air Austral’s route to Mahe one of the main reasons for visit of Seychelles’ tourism delegation to Reunion

In a show of support for the tourism and trade ties with Vanilla Island partnerReunion did a sizeable delegation earlier this week fly from Mahe to St. Denis, the Reunion capital, using Air Austral. The Reunion based airline had resumed flights between the two islands in June last year but is in need of better load factors.
While visits from Reunion to the Seychelles’ have increased since the relaunch of the twice weekly flights by a massive 250 percent, aided by having based a tourism officer from the Seychelles’ Tourism Board on Reunion, will that not be enough and has to increase further to make the route financially viable.
It is understood that one of the discussion points on the agenda of the meetings will be eased access by Seychellois to Reunion, similar to the Visa waivers in place already for citizens from South Africa, India and China, which will arguably lead to a sharp rise in travel from the archipelago to Reunion.
Minister Alain St. Ange gives his take on the purpose of his visit as he writes:

Seychelles’ mission in La Reunion is to keep Air Austral in its skies

The Seychelles Tourism Board’s delegation spearheaded by Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange in Reunion has taken a firm footing in its strategy for Reunion Island. In a press conference at Villa Deslisle Hotel & Spa at Saint Pierre, Minister St.Ange said Seychelles’ mission is to keep Air Austral in the Seychelles skies.

“Our message is clear, we want to work with Reunion island and consolidate the good working partnership which already exists between the two islands. It is only through a win-win situation that we can pave the way forward,’’ Minister St.Ange said.

Minister St.Ange said with the 2015 visitor arrival statistic showing a growth of 250% on the Reunion market on a year to year basis, it is clear for the islands that with Air Austral being the only direct flight connecting the two islands, Seychelles have to sustain these flights.

The minister added that the flights can only remain sustainable if Seychelles is visible on Reunion island.

It is with this in mind that Minister St.Ange announced Seychelles’ decision to post one of its representatives in the Tourism Office in Reunion (IRT), to work with Air Austral, Tour Operators and the press to make Seychelles much more visible.

Addressing the la Reunion Press, Minister Alain St.Ange said:- “The Seychelles representative in Reunion will work closely with the press to increase the visibility of the Seychelles. We are Press friendly. The Press had been tested as our undisputed marketing tool. My appeal to the La Reunion Press is work with us, help us to raise Seychelles visibility in Reunion’’ said Minister St.Ange

The Seychelles Minister said that the Seychelles Tourism Board sees Tourism Office in Reunion (IRT) as its close collaborator. He said together they can rally their forces to give Reunion and Seychelles their rightful place within the Vanilla islands concept. In his message Minister St.Ange said Seychelles will continue to support Reunion island and is more than ever convinced that the Seychelles-Reunion partnership is now built and that it will remain on solid ground.

The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Sherin Naiken said Seychelles’ strategy for Reunion island further consolidates the Reunion market with all its potential for growth.

She said her working mission with the Tourism Office in Reunion has been fruitful and it transpired their willingness to work closely with Seychelles to make it attain its core objective for Reunion island.

Her statement was re-enforced by Ariane Loupy, her counterpart of Tourism Office in Reunion who spoke of an educational tour in Seychelles for travel agents to get a better in-sight of Seychelles products.

She said the ‘’ success of one is the success of all’’.

H.E. Lionel Majeste-Larrouy the newly accredited French Ambassador in Seychelles, who also sat at the head table for the Press Conference said when he addressed the Press Conference that he shared the same spirit of togetherness for Indian Ocean region. He said that will work with Seychelles, France and Reunion to ease entry formalities process of Seychellois citizens travelling to Reunion. Today the airline is requesting an Insurance certificate and a hotel booking among other documents needed at check-in on a flight to La Reunion.

Virgine K/Bidi, the Vice president of ‘’ Region Reunion’’ said good working partnership is based on a ‘’ win -win ‘situation.

The press conference was also attended by Jean Marc Grazzini, the Commercial Director at Air Austral and Stephanie Bégert, head of Cooporate and internal communication at Air Austral. They both supported the Seychelles mission in La Reunion saying it was the right platform for Tour Operators and hotel establishments interested in Reunion as a source market. Seychelles tourism establishments and local Destination Management Companies (DMCs) wanting to attract the La Reunion tourism market who were present for this working visit were:- Les Lauriers Eco-hotel and restaurant of Praslin, AVANI Seychelles Barbarons resort and spa of Mahe, Creole Travel Services, 7 degrees South, Mason’s Travel, Le Duc de Praslin Hotel, Coral Strand Smart Choice hotel of Mahe, L’Hirondelle Self Catering Guest House of Praslin, Ocean Jewels Resort, Patatran Village of La Digue and Pure Seychelles Hotels, representing 10 small hotels to meet the Press and boost the visibility of their products .

The press conference ended with a colourful cultural performance by Seychelles National Troupe and a Creole snacks prepared by Christabelle Joubert, a Chef of Seychelles Tourism Academy.