The first multi sectorial task force meeting for 2015 opened on a positive remark by the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association hailing the government’s decision to re-instate non-stop flights to Paris. The association’s chairman Freddy Karkaria said the decision is a clear message that the government has listened to the trade.
‘’ We are delighted with the decision by the government to re-instate non-stop direct flights from Paris to our destination as of July. We thank the government for listening to the trade; the decision was not an easy one to take and we are cognizant that it is a tough venture,” he said.
Mr Karkaria said France has a history of being number one market for Seychelles.
‘’ This announcement will rejuvenate all other European markets that had made Charles De Gaulle (CDG) their hub of choice. One cannot discount the marketing importance of one’s national carrier in a key hub.”
He pointed out that the lack of direct air access was one of the negative factors affecting the destination’s performance, highlighted last year during the Seychelles Tourism Board’s annual marketing review and in meetings with travel trade and Italian tour operators.
‘’ The lack of nonstop flights from key markets is a competitive disadvantage, as tourists may choose other destinations, which are easier access. It was felt by many Seychelles had lost its presence within the key European markets by not having its national airline fly non-stop’’.
The association has given the government its assurances that in 2015 it will maintain its strategy of dialogue and this despite the disappointments and lack of progress on systemic and fiscal issues discussed July 2014 and which for the larger part remain unsolved.
It has been recommended by the association that the Seychelles Tourism Board tweak its marketing strategy in France to bring back to our country its frequent travellers.
The Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange said the Seychelles Tourism Board will be relooking at its marketing budget for France.
‘’For us to achieve this we must relook at all the budget we have. I can assure the trade we have planned meeting to relook at our marketing strategy. We need to work on Paris, London, Italy and concretise this approach of nonstop direct flights,” he said.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan gave more details on the government’s decision to reinstate nonstop Paris weekly flights. He said the decision was not an easy one but it was purely based on economic benefits for Seychelles.
The multi sectorial meeting chaired by Vice President Danny Faure was attended by others ministers; Minister for Labour and Human Resource Development Idith Alexander , Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy Jean Paul Adam, Minister of Home Affairs Charles Bastienne, Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister Didier Dogley, and Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Wallace Cosgrow.
Also present were members of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries, trade partners and Air Seychelles.
The last multi sectorial meeting was held in October last year. Key points tabled in the last meeting were discussed in this first multi sectorial meeting. These included signage on beaches, L’union Estate fees, Marine Park fees, and the development of regional air access and inter island.