Forward bookings for Seychelles’ tourism ‘positive’ in 2022
Seychelles expects to welcome over 200,000 visitors to its shores this year as traditional tourist markets show signs of rebounding faster after the removal of travel restrictions in several European countries, a top official said on Monday.
The Principal Secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, made the statement to the press following the start of the annual tourism marketing meeting, which is being held virtually for the second consecutive year.
She said that Seychelles expects the arrival of 218,000 visitors as a worst-case scenario or 258,000 as the best-case scenario. The best scenario represents about two thirds of visitors’ arrival numbers of 2019 – the best year so far for the industry – when the island nation welcomed over 428,000 visitors to its shores.
“When comparing records up to June 2022 to that of the same period in 2021, we see that there is progress and the forward booking data looks more positive. We see that our traditional markets are showing a sign of rebounding much faster than the top markets that were on the table in 2021,” added Francis.
The traditional markets of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, are France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Last year, Seychelles welcomed 182,849 visitors, with Russia as the leading market.
“We have also seen that there are a lot of countries thinking about removing some restrictions and measures that were in place when it comes to travelling, with some having already done so. This will impact positively on travel confidence,” said Francis.
Francis told SNA that the country is expected to be back at its 2019 visitors’ arrival level in 2023 while the World Tourism Organisation predicts that this will happen globally in 2024.
Meanwhile, during the virtual meeting, tourism minister Sylvestre Radegonde spoke about the island nations’ tourism recovery efforts, calling on industry players to work harder to compete with other island destinations.
“A fast and rigorous vaccination programme which started in January 2021, set us on our way to becoming one of the first destinations to open up to visitors. In 2022, we cannot sit on our laurels. The advantage is not as clear this year. Other competitive destinations have opened up with bigger budgets than we have and we have to work smarter,” said Radegonde.
Among several marketing strategies, the tourism department is considering product development and diversification, such as on cultural or community tourism programmes.