Seychelles Tourism Board
THE SEYCHELLES TOURISM Board came into being in 2006 as the successor to the Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority that was formed in 2000, and oversees most aspects of Seychelles’ tourism industry. The Marketing Fund is responsible for coordinating the marketing of the destination while the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) trains staff for Seychelles’ hospitality industry.
“STB is also charged with implementing national tourism policy, conceiving all marketing initiatives and collateral materials for research and product development; providing local information and customer services as well as coordination with tourism offices and representative agencies abroad,” the Board elaborates. “Its original mission was ‘a drive to further raise visitor numbers, continuing to develop and maintain an authentic, dynamic and sustainable product at home, based on professionalism and value for money, as the foundation for parallel, innovative and cost-effective marketing campaigns throughout core and emerging markets’.”
Q Africa Outlook (AfO): Since inception, how has Seychelles Tourism Board developed and progressed in terms of its key objectives and the messages it tries to get across?
Seychelles Tourism Board (STB): “The Board is always evolving to keep abreast of developments and trends in the highly volatile sphere of tourism which has changed greatly over past years. The Board has invested heavily in digital marketing and spends much energy on getting its messages across via social media campaigns, its official tourism websites and the like.
Today, apart from its traditional European markets, the Seychelles Tourism Board speaks to new markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Far East and the CIS block of countries; and its messages are about the affordability of a Seychelles vacation, the harmony that reigns in the country in contrast to many others, and the pristine environment.
Q AfO: How would you evaluate the tourism sector in the Seychelles now compared to its condition when the Seychelles Tourism Board began?
STB: Today, the tourism scene has moved on from what it was when the Tourism Board started. Today, by virtue of developments in politics, communication, internet and social media, tourism businesses and establishments are more independent in terms of the way they conduct their businesses and disseminate their messages. STB is increasingly a facilitator working in close collaboration with the various tourism players and stakeholders to achieve common aims.
Today, there is far greater connectivity than there was thanks to the many airlines now servicing Seychelles and a steadily growing
cruise ship industry. At the same time, major international hotel brands have come on line with their own marketing facilities and suite of amenities which have all helped to raise the bar and strengthen the brand.
Q AfO: What is in store for the Seychelles over the course of 2017 and beyond to continue the good work already commenced and to enhance its reputation as a tourism and business travel hub further in the future?
STB: Events and expos which have traditionally been organised by the Tourism Board are now being handled exclusively by a new agency (CINEA) for that express purpose. They will be organising the full spectrum of Seychelles events, including La Serenade, the successor to the Carnaval International de Victoria; La Fet La Digue; Seychelles Ocean Festival; and others.
In terms of new constructions in and around Victoria, the Seychelles International Airport is undergoing a major rebranding and reconstruction that has already brought a new domestic terminal online in August, 2017 and during the rest of the year and next year will see the refurbishment of the international terminal, the construction of a new commercial area, and other improvements.
The complex at the Seychelles Tourism Academy, charged with providing education for future generations of Seychellois tourist professionals and already featuring kitchens, restaurants, language labs and other amenities to help students acquire the skills they need to enter the industry, will soon expand to operate a Hotel D’Application; teaching students theory while at the same time engaging in the practical skills necessary to provide on-the-job training and echoing the academy’s motto: ‘Learning through experience’.
AfO: Looking forward, what progress and development do you expect to see in the future, both in regards to the Seychelles Tourism Board as an entity, and in regards to the business travel industry in the Seychelles as a whole?
STB: I would look forward to Seychelles further strengthening its brand and consolidating its position as a gateway to Africa by virtue of further strengthened connectivity and amenities on the ground and in continuing to attract regional and international businesses to our shores.
I hope that the advent of the Blue Economy, in particular, and the many economic opportunities it offers and the tools it places at our disposal such as Marine Spatial Planning and Fiscal Debt Conversion Systems - will continue to make Seychelles a vibrant regional and international business hub.