It is a well-known fact that advertisements have a very powerful effect on children, and that these children have a lot of influence on their parents to buy the products that they see. It was with this in mind that, when the Al Yasat Private School in Al Shamkha, Abu Dhabi, contacted Ms Aliette Esther to help them with a presentation and Open Day, where the Seychelles was the main theme, she did not hesitate to say yes. All this was inspired by Miss Sara Al-Zu’bi who, after a trip to the Seychelles, fell in love with the place and wanted to share her experiences with her pupils. A call to the Seychelles Embassy, where Ms Esther, the Tourism Attaché, is based, spiralled into the dynamic event that took place over two days, on the 23rd February and 2nd March respectively. “On the first day, I had to do a presentation to a class of 7-8 year-olds. I usually work closely with travel agents and professionals involved with the travel and tourism trade, so these young minds were a different segment of the market. I had to come up with a totally new presentation which was geared towards them. It was challenging, but a lot of fun,”Ms Esther commented. “I covered a few themes like the people, the flora and fauna, the language etc.. and the children stunned me with everything that they knew, thanks to their teacher’s hard work. ”
In fact, after Miss Sara Al-Zu’bi returned enthused from her trip to the Seychelles, she started preparing for the presentation and Open Day. It fitted in perfectly with the curriculum, and that made it even more worthwhile. From posters to papier-mâché figurines, drawings of the flag and pictures of animals, as well as their own representations of different aspects of the islands, the school-kids seemed to have covered it all. “So well-versed with the islands were they, that they even pre-empted what I was presenting. They seemed to know all the facts and were so happy to show off what they had learnt, “Ms Esther said with a smile.
These were also on display the following week for the Open Day, where the parents of the 850+ students, 95% of whom are UAE nationals, were in attendance. They asked a million questions about the islands, sharing their children’s fascination and enthusiasm. Most of the kids, if not all, were exposed to information about the Seychelles at some point during the event. The highlight of the day was probably a little dance that the class had prepared, and where three of the children wore traditional costumes of the Seychelles. The whole audience was clapping and laughing with the rhythm of the music. “It was really touching to see children of other nationalities loving the country so much, “Ms Esther added. Everyone went home with fond memories of the islands as well as little souvenirs of the Seychelles in the guise of coco-de-mer key-rings and different coloured tortoises ordered specially for the event.
The Seychelles was showcased alongside Tunisia, Italy, Argentina, Thailand, Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Cuba, England, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Germany, Greece, Russia, Morocco, Australia, Switzerland, Jamaica, New Zealand and India.
Dr. Jake Madden, the School Principal, thanked Ms Esther for the effort she invested in marketing and selling the Seychelles and for sustaining the interest of so many parents, children and staff of approximately 80 teachers throughout the day.
“I think we can definitely expect a few families from the Al Yasat Private School to visit the Seychelles this year. They were all impressed by the fact that they can get a visa on arrival and that the islands are only four hours away from the UAE. To top it off, it is perfectly safe, and that’s a definite attraction. The UAE is well-connected with the Seychelles archipelago by three airlines and four scheduled flights per day one of which is Air Seychelles the national carrier, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline. The beaming smiles of each and everyone’s face made it all worthwhile. Let’s hope that they now carry those smiles to the Seychelles, helping our visitor arrivals from that part of the world to go up a notch higher,” concluded Ms Esther.