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Saint Ange Tourism Report 3rd December 2017

December 5, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Welcome to Edition 26 of the 3rd December 2017.

December is upon us, with the Christmas Season on our doorstep, and New Year Celebrations closer than we realise. It is a time for reflection, as it is, a time for understanding the meaning of Christmas.   

Seychelles last week, saw its visitor arrival numbers slide to 17% from the 21% figure it was riding on week after week as record arrival figures. This is though no fault of Sherin Francis and her Team at the Tourism Board, but it does send nevertheless, the feeling of vulnerability of tourism destinations. Attracting tourists to a destination is hard work, and those who have the responsibility to do so for Seychelles need to be respected and thanked. They work long hours and with dedication. Some think it is as easy as going to Victoria Market with a basket where you select what you want from the shelves. No Sir, it is not at all like this, and when the country loses focus or is distracted….reality will come home, and Seychellois will scream. Some Hoteliers who sat for a working lunch with me this week to discuss Tourism and their own visibility campaigns, spoke of the island’s Official Arrival Figures that are inclusive of Airline Crew. These have grown in numbers as more airlines have added Seychelles to their destinations. Emirates, Etihad, Turkish, Condor & Austrian are today using hotel rooms for their staff, and this figure has grown this year. As an average, Seychelles statistics are recording 1600 arrivals per month from airline crew who are checking into hotels.

Last week we touched on the need, and on our country’s obligation, to grow the Seychelles tourism industry because more and more people are now so dependent on this key industry. Many are writing in to say they need more business, when others are saying boldly they want more from tourism. Yet we know that tourism will never, and just simply cannot grow by itself. It needs commitment and the appropriate budget. Over the years the tourism marketing budget divided by the visitor arrival numbers gave a cost to the Government per visitor arriving in Seychelles. Today it can virtually be forecasted what the Seychelles tourism arrival figures will be based on the marketing budget allocated. Political will, and the continued understanding of the industry that should be managed outside of partisan political wrangling will keep Seychelles progressing well or will ensure it just stagnates.

Today, the Saint Ange Tourism Report congratulates Sherin Naiken and her Team in South Africa, David Germain & Lena Hoareau for keeping the island’s flag flying high. The Coca Cola drive was a success and this has been achieved because you have remained relevant and earned the confidence of your partners and the business community. This helped ensure that Seychelles was chosen as part of a list of countries for the Coca Cola Competition they are running.  Customers must give correct answers to stand a chance of winning a holiday to the listed countries where Seychelles is included.

“Win a Trip with Coca Cola to Seychelles” was a great Coup! Congratulations to Sherin Francis and her Team, David Germain and Lena Hoareau, in South Africa. Visibility of Seychelles in South Africa has ensured Seychelles was relevant and therefore chosen to be part of the competition. Well done!

Seychelles is in an adaptation mode. Marches and petitions have alerted the islands of its challenges and this is a healthy sign. This developing culture of enjoying “re-found freedom” is not hurtful to even tourism as an industry if it is carried out with respect and tolerance. It tells the world that rights are respected and this is good. No one should be saying anything to the contrary, but we need instead to tackle the challenges we face as a country. This is why on Tuesday, it was refreshing for all who walked through Victoria. Kishnan Labonte, the newly appointed Commissioner of Police and his Senior Officers were seen on the beat walking Victoria. This was a great move and Seychelles needs to say thank you to the new Team heading the Seychelles Police.

Police Commissioner Labonte on beat in Victoria

Our quote for this issue, was actually sent to me by Sophia X (X used for anonymity), and was such a thoughtful gesture, full of kindness. I am unsure who to attribute the quote to, but suffice to say, I will continue to work for Seychelles and its tourism industry with as much passion as I have always done. These days I have time on my hands, and a man with so much time can do little but work to his greatest ability with the needed passion and dedication for Seychelles firstly, and secondly for its tourism, the industry that has been my life:-

“When people throw you stones it’s because you are a good tree full of fruits. They see a lot of harvest in you. Don’t go down to their level by throwing them back the stones, but throw them your FRUITS so the seeds of yourself may inspire them to change their ways”.

As the Christmas Season is again upon us, the world has changed its usual uniform, to what is considered its Christmas look. In Canada, a diver disguised as a Father Christmas was again in an aquarium for the annual “Scuba Santa” event in Vancouver on the 23 November.

Canada referred to this as a cultural event, because religion is culture, and so is the Christmas Season. Placing the Canadian Culture at the centre of their daily life, through an Event, was appreciated by both the Canadians and tourists alike. The event provided an activity for the Canadians who have worked hard everyday of the year to ensure Canada is the strong country it is. Congratulations Canada, Well Done! Other Cities right across the World are also in Christmas spirit, with London having already switched on its Oxford Street lights. In Seychelles, the Seychelles Trading Corporation (STC) Hypermarket, the Grand Kaz Casino and the Central Bank Building in Victoria waited for no one to bring the Christmas spirit to those who have worked hard in 2017.

H.E. Madame Wheeler Mahawa Kaba, the Director for Women, Gender and Development in the Bureau of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) issued a statement on the Sixteen Days of Activism saying that she expresses her gratitude and hoped that more industries will follow in the footsteps of PMAESA to see conditions created to increase the number of women in leadership positions and share of business opportunities. She indicated that every step counted and the shipping industry’s stance on zero tolerance on violence against women was commendable. “Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Comoros and the Republic of Guinea have women leading their port and maritime operations” Madame Wheeler Mahawa Kaba said at the end of the 2017 Zambia Cruise Africa Meeting by the Industry leaders in Port and Maritime Operations of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMEASA) who were meeting on the banks of the Zambezi River in Livingstone Zambia.

Soon after the importance of Cruise Tourism was displayed at the PMAESA Zambia meeting in Livingstone, the Saint Ange Tourism Report was informed of the launch of “Port Victoria Shipping Services”, a new Shipping Company in Seychelles that are acting as a ‘Boutique Shipping Agent’ for Super Yachts, Cruise Ship Companies and Container Ships. Service delivery and being in touch with trends, aspirations and needs are expectations by the Shipping World from their Shipping Agents as was highlighted at the Zambia meeting.

Two Cruise Ships in Port Victoria just last weekend

Cruise Ship business in Seychelles is doing well, as it is in the other Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands. The drive to attract news cruise ship companies and to increase the length of stay in our ports was the battle cry by the Vanilla Islands Organisation. Just last weekend, two ships were at Port Victoria and both tied up overnight at the Port Victoria Quay. The time is now to move to make Port Victoria more friendly to Cruise Ship Passengers if we want to continue to enjoy the growth in the cruise ship business we are currently enjoying.

Col. Andre Ciseau, the CEO of the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) used the 2017 Zambia Cruise Africa Meeting by the Industry leaders in Port and Maritime Operations of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMEASA) to spell out how the SPA was moving to tidy up Port Victoria to better accommodate the increased number of Cruise Ships arriving in Seychelles. The main gate of Port Victoria is commercial with container trucks and cargo vehicles in constant movement. Col Ciseau is organising a more ‘tourist friendly’ access corridor for Cruise Ship passengers that will bypass the cargo entrance, in a bid to ensure Seychelles ‘Port Victoria’ remains on the Port Call list for Cruise Ships. Works to tidy up the ‘tourist friendly’ access corridor has started and the SPA Port Team need to be congratulated for their innovation and practicality.

Port Victoria dressing up for Cruise Ship Passengers

Finally, as I have said before I will say it again, I will not stop to throw stones at every barking dog because this will just delay me getting to my destination. It is important to again today acknowledge all who are diligently re-posting the Saint Ange Tourism Report weekly. Our Report ranges far and wide, from Australia to the Americas, from the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands to Africa & Asian and Greater Europe, with your continued support, which is greatly appreciated. You are helping us to go from strength to strength with each new Edition

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