The mystical Seychelles Islands remains a fantasy escape for travellers across the globe and, although the vicious pandemic has dwindled travel, the destination maintains its allure. On the path to a slow yet steady recovery, the tropical paradise has seen the arrival of 98,894 visitors up to November 15, 2020.
Based on data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, since re-opening to commercial flights on August 1, 2020, the Seychelles International Airport has seen the arrival of 9,272 visitors. Since then, up to date, the local tourism industry’s traditional markets have remained steadfast with the UAE as the top visiting region with 3,065 visitors, followed by Germany with 2,328, Switzerland with 1,495, the UK with 662 and France with 298. In week 46, the airport has seen 1,154 arrivals with the same markets remaining strong during this time hailing 628 visitors from Germany, 218 from Switzerland, 83 from the UAE, 72 from South Africa and 55 from Austria. Additionally, since the resumption of Air Seychelles flights to South Africa, there has been an increase in the number of visitors from the region from 11 in week 45 to 72 in week 46.
Reviewing the recent tourism arrival numbers, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Chief Executive Sherin Francis stated that the current situation leaves little room for trends as travellers are booking very close to their travel date. “In the last quarter of 2019 alone, Seychelles received 104,079 visitors; therefore, the numbers presented this year may seem dull in comparison. However, looking at the bigger picture, these same figures are monumental for the local tourism industry. Currently, our marketing approach is flexible and in constant evolution. We are doing so without deviating from the very crucial goal of keeping our people safe,” said Francis.
Keeping abreast of client’s sentiments regarding the safety of visitors in the destination, a small-scale pilot study was conducted by STB’s Strategic Planning and Market Intelligence Team in collaboration with Hilton Northolme, and the data collected comes as a beacon of hope for the local tourism industry.
The findings revealed several key information as 100 per cent of respondents stated that they felt safe being in Seychelles during this time, with 81 per cent claiming to feel very safe. Furthermore, 100 per cent of respondents claimed that they would recommend travelling to Seychelles during this time and 17 per cent responded that they came to Seychelles to seek refuge from the pandemic. The data collected conveys growing confidence in the travel industry especially in the Seychelles where the local authorities have united to implement extensive safety measures whereby the low infection numbers have created a sense of security in the minds of travellers. Our commitments for safe tourism have been ably supported by the various partners on the tourism task force,” said the STB Chief Executive.