French tourists likely to return to Seychelles in big numbers, official predicts
France could soon move back in to Seychelles’ top three tourism markets with the return of Air France and the recent removal of the island nation from the European country’s red list, a top tourism official said Wednesday.
Seychelles was removed from France’s red list last week in regards to COVID-19 travel restrictions and is now on the orange list, meaning travel between the two countries is now allowed under certain conditions.
“The news of Seychelles being on the approved list for French travellers could not come at a better time for the destination,” said Bernadette Willemin, the director general of marketing for Tourism Seychelles.
She told SNA that “this will help to give more confidence to the travel trade partners to sell our product and provide more assurance to our visitors as it will facilitate certain travel requirements such as travel insurances.”
Seychelles being removed from the red list in France also coincides with Air France’s return to the island on Sunday.
“With the availability of a direct flight to Seychelles through the arrival of Air France expected on October 24, we are forecasting the French market would not only do well in terms of visitors arrivals but also regain its place in the top three markets,” said Willemin.
Being on the orange list, travellers from France to Seychelles will only have to produce a valid reason for their travel unless they can justify a complete vaccination course with a vaccine recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
For those travelling from Seychelles to France, though, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in France specifies that when departing from Seychelles, most airlines require a PCR test carried out locally, while any traveller who tests positive must carry out quarantine of at least 10 days at his place of residence and at his expense.
This is good news for the tourism industry, the top pillar of the Seychelles’ economy.
In 2019 before the arrival of the COVID-19 to the island nation in the western Indian Ocean, 43,297 French nationals visited Seychelles, making the European country the third top market. This year according to the National Bureau of Statistics, Seychelles welcomed of 6,873 for the past nine months.
Willemin told SNA that the marketing department at Tourism Seychelles is hard at work promoting Seychelles and that the team was recently in France participating in the 2021 IFTM Top Resa exhibition, one of the main international trade fairs dedicated to tourism in France.
“This was a promising event for us as we have noticed a renewed interest in our destination and allowed us to increase our visibility in the media in France,” she said.
In addition, Willemin said that Tourism Seychelles has already started promotional activities on the market since the beginning of September in line with the autumn-winter marketing plan.