The state of tourism Seychelles’ and the efforts to diversify the industry were brought to the forefront when the archipelago’s Principal Secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis made an appearance on the VA Tourism Podcast with host Kojo Bentum-Williams.
With a focus on product diversification, local talent development, and strategic partnerships, Seychelles aims to enhance its tourism offerings and boost its economy.
According to Mrs. Francis, the tourism sector in Seychelles has experienced a growth rate of 8.8%. The first quarter of the year witnessed the fastest growth, although May and June saw a decline in visitor numbers. France and Germany continue to dominate the traditional market, but efforts have been made to maintain strong ties with other countries such as Russia and Israel. However, the focus now is on maximizing revenue from each visitor through diversification strategies and offering unique experiences.
Francis intimated: “Eastern Europe is an important region for us in terms of visitor arrivals. Countries in this region contribute significantly to our visitor numbers, with Russia being particularly significant. However, we also value the contribution of smaller countries like Poland. These markets have shown resilience during the pandemic and have become dependable markets for us.”
Diversification plays a pivotal role in the future of Seychelles’ tourism industry. Francis highlighted the importance of moving beyond visitor numbers and concentrating on providing captivating experiences that encourage visitors to spend more in the destination. Niche activities, events, and the natural beauty of the islands are being emphasized to attract tourists. Events like the recent Nature Trail have been strategically scheduled during traditionally slower months to increase visitor arrivals.
Additionally, the Seychelles tourism industry is actively promoting cultural festivals and engaging with local communities. By organizing events such as bazaars and cultural showcases, visitors are encouraged to experience the authentic aspects of Seychellois culture and support the local community.
The wedding niche market also remains a key focus for Seychelles. The demand for unique destination weddings and remote locations has grown significantly. To address this, the government has trained freelance celebrants to officiate weddings. By providing proper training and certification, Seychelles aims to meet the demand for this specialized market and support the various sectors involved in destination weddings.
“We have opened up opportunities for individuals to offer this service, providing proper training and certification. Weddings support various sectors of the economy, from wedding planners to florists, makeup artists, and caterers. We believe in maximizing local talent and providing opportunities for growth within the industry,” the Principal Secretary emphasized.
Recognizing the importance of developing local talent, Seychelles has implemented a training program in partnership with Shannon College. The program aims to groom young individuals interested in the hotel industry, providing them with the necessary skills to work in senior management positions. However, efforts are being made to further support graduates and ensure a clear career path within the industry. A mentorship program has been introduced, connecting graduates with experienced professionals who can guide and nurture their growth.
“We have implemented a mentorship program and improved stakeholder engagement. We aim to provide support and guidance to graduates, ensuring they have a clear career path within the industry,” Francis emphasized.
Connectivity is another crucial aspect for Seychelles’ tourism industry. The government acknowledges that building strong partnerships with airlines is essential for growth and sustainability. According to Sherin Francis, “When creating plans, it is essential to engage with stakeholders, particularly airlines, as they play a crucial role in the success of tourism initiatives. We have emphasized air connectivity in our strategies and recognized the importance of partnerships with airlines.”