Wednesday, 12 November 2014

China tourism enterprise expresses wish to bring non-stop direct flight to Seychelles

When the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) decided to move into China in 2011 and developed it as a source tourism market, it was remarkable how fast this secondary market moved fast to become today a main key market for these mid-ocean islands. Through proper positioning of the Seychelles as the new tourism destination for Chinese holiday makers, and by keeping Seychelles visible in the market, it is widely accepted today that Seychelles is known as a great tourism destination by China, and the word “beautiful” is the spelled out when anyone is questioned about the Seychelles.
Though constrained by lack of direct non-stop flights on the Seychelles-China route, the aggressive marketing approach by the island's Tourism Board offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, the East Asian market is showing rapid signs of positive growth. Today, the Chinese holiday makers are flying to Seychelles with Air Seychelles from Hong Kong, and with Etihad, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, and Mihin Lanka (Sri Lankan Airlines).
China is a highly sought-after market for Seychelles. Figures recorded for 2014 are, in fact, significant. With statistics for European markets remaining a bit fuzzy, China, a Seychelles leading market for the East Asian region, continues to successfully overtake all the other of the island's secondary markets with a spectacular increase of 77% on a year-to-date basis.
Lined up as one of Seychelles’ top sources of tourism income, the healthy growth of the Chinese market is gaining recognition, even in China. CAISSA Touristic is a Chinese tourism enterprise committed to providing quality tourism services to Chinese citizens. Founded in Hamburg, Germany, after 20 years of steady development, CAISSA, which had set up its branches in Frankfurt, Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and major global cities, is now thinking of bringing non-stop direct flights between China and Seychelles.
On the first day of his working visit to China, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, had an official one-on-one meeting in China with top tour operators. The Minister, accompanied by the CEO of the Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken; Marco Francis, Chairman of the Chamber Commerce and Industry (SCCI); Penny Belmont, Chief Executive of SENPA; Derek Barbe, General Manager of Savoy Seychelles; May De Silva, representing 7 Degree South; Christoph Gangster, General Manager, Raffles Seychelles; Alan Mason and Jessica Giroux, representing Mason’s Travel; Guillaume Albert from Travel Services Seychelles; and Tot-Leong Sweeting of Select-Seychelles met with Chen Xiaobing, President of CAISSA Travel Management Co. Ltd.
During the meeting where members of the Seychelles delegation were united in their bid to sell Seychelles as the new destination for the Chinese holiday makers, Mr. Chen Xiaobing, the President of CAISSA Travel Management Co. Ltd. of China, broke the news of his company’s plan to open up non-stop direct flights from Beijing to Seychelles. The first flight is expected to operate in October 2015 and projected to bring annually 25,000 travelers. This great news for China and Seychelles is the result of close collaborative works between the Seychelles Tourism Board in China and CAISSA.
The non-stop direct flights demonstrate that demand is there from passengers across China to travel to long-haul destinations, such as the Seychelles, and they also provide an alternative gateway to Seychelles for passengers seeking direct flights.
CAISSA is not new in operating chartered flights. In 2011, CAISSA operated its first non-stop chartered flights to Japan. Today, CAISSA, is one of the world’s leading non-stop chartered flight operators. It has positioned itself in some of the most profitable emerging tourism markets such as Switzerland and Bali. CAISSA sees Seychelles as the next conquering market, and is now in the process of acquiring in 2015 its wide-body Airbus A320.
President Chen Xiaobing said CAISSA is “a responsible and serious company” willing to “invest in Seychelles.” The Seychelles delegation welcomed CAISSA’s dream to move in Seychelles with non-stop direct flights. Minister Alain St.Ange gave his reassurance in supporting this venture.
“The Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s dream is to have direct non-stop flights to Seychelles from China. It is something that we dearly want to see for the continued growth of our tourism industry,” Minister St.Ange said.
Mason’s Travel of Seychelles is currently the ground handling destination company working with CAISSA. In its evaluation of the Seychelles market, CAISSA set quite a fuzzy picture of challenges faced by the travel agent to sell agents. CAISSA said Seychelles needs to better understand Chinese travelers and their habits. The company explained that Chinese travelers when compared to western holiday makers planned their holidays at the last minute. In regards to marketing of Seychelles in China, CAISSA is convinced Seychelles can still be more aggressive in its marketing drive in China and that it should increase its marketing budget on the Asian market.
Sherin Naiken, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, gave her re-assurance to CAISSA that the Seychelles Tourism Board office in Beijing and Seychelles will work closely with CAISSA to move forward the company’s dream.

Seychelles Is Ebola Free!

China’s tourism industry says that it has surmounted many a sad chapter. Today, as the outbound Chinese operators are enjoying a boom in business since the last SARS epidemic, the tourism operators are faced with a new threat: Ebola in Africa.
Chinese travelers are well aware that the Ebola outbreak is in West African countries. It is true the disease is gaining speed on the continent, but Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, said to the Chinese tour operators that it will be seen as a geographical mistake to position Seychelles on the African continent. Yes, Seychelles has historical ties with the African continent, but it sits in the middle of the Indian Ocean, one thousand miles off the east coast of Africa. It was evident during the working visit being undertaken by the Seychelles Minister and his CEO of the Tourism Board, accompanied by a strong delegation of the island's private tourism players who are wanting to work with Chinese tour operators, that Chinese travelers have not yet figured out this geographical detail and puts Seychelles in the same bag as other African countries. This wrong perception was not giving the Seychelles’ tourism industry good publicity, but like other African countries, the Ebola threat has affected that continent's tourism industry. Seychelles has been registering cancellations in tourism bookings.
The Seychelles tourism industry believes that sitting back at home would not help much to change this misperception among Chinese travelers. Moving to China and disseminating the right information to travel agents and tour operators selling Seychelles was seen as the best strategy to put an end to this misperception. It is with this in mind that Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, and Sherin Naiken, Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, are now in China with local trade partners for one-to-one meetings with travel agents and tour operators selling Seychelles as the new tourism destination for Chinese holiday makers. From Beijing to Shanghai, the message could not have been better echoed: “Seychelles is Ebola free” - and remains “safe for traveler.” In a series of one-on-one meetings, starting off in Beijing with CAISSA Travel Management Co. Ltd., Windy Feeling International Travel Service, and, Minister St.Ange came out with a much stronger argument about Africa being 54 countries and not villages and spelled out where Seychelles was safely situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
“Ebola is on the west coast of Africa; we sit off the east coast of Africa. Yes, Seychelles remains part of Africa, but we live our lives as a small island nation well outside all the difficulties that are ravaging this continent,” Minister St.Ange said.
Tour operators and travel agents in China are convinced that the Ebola threat in West African countries is a wake-up call for the continent, with past scars of economic turmoil. "China is still overcoming its SARS lesson, and with the Ebola outbreak, travelers are conscious of their choice of holiday destinations," said CAISSA Travel Management Co. Ltd. The Chinese tour operators and travel agents are saying that there needs to be continued management of the epidemic to ensure travelers’ behavior is not to boycott the continent as a whole. On a second phase of his visit in China, Minister St.Ange and his delegation will move to Xiamen and Shanghai armed with his map of Africa showing clearly the position of affected countries and where Seychelles is situated and the same message will be echoed and re-echoed.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Praslin Hotel offer special resident rates for the Seychelles Praslin Culinary & Arts Fiesta

September is traditionally a slow month for business on Praslin. Hotels and self-catering establishments on the island are now pretty confident that the annual Praslin Culinary& Arts Fiesta organised in the first week of September, could be a head start to soar growth in their tourism industry.  As Seychelles gets closer to the date, a climax of business confident has been restored on the Island. With this new wave of business optimism, properties prepared to see growth in domestic tourism are cutting down on their normal applicable resident rates. New Emerald Cove is offering 50% discount for residents on half board. The hotel rate is R2300 instead of R4600.
Arno Brunlinger Resident Manager of the New Emerald Cove said Praslin Culinary & Arts Fiesta is “an opportunity for residents to stay on this secluded resort on a private beach near Baie St Anne Jetty”.

Paradise Sun Praslin Seychelles has also joined the band wagon, dropping the price of R9,000 to R3,000 for resident superior room on half board. Castello Beach Hotel follows suit dropping prices to 50% for bed and breakfast and single room. Raffles Praslin Seychelles, the island's luxury hotel openes its Bay View Pool Villa, overlooking the island’s beautiful bay at a competitive rate of 300 Euros instead of 945 Euros and its Ocean View Pool Villa at 420 Euros instead of 825 Euros. Daryna Petlina Assistant Revenue & Reservations Manager at the hotel said Raffles Praslin Seychelles is proud to be associated with Culinary& Arts Fiesta. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture said it is encouraging to see big drop for residents in hotel rates for Praslin Culinary and Arts Fiesta. This trend sends a positive message saying that the Praslin tourism business is ready to take ownership of this event.
"Cat Cocos Ferries led the way in offering special rates for the Praslin Cultural event, and now more and more hotels and resorts are saying let us make the Praslin Culinary and Arts Fiesta the event it deserves to be for Praslin. We salute everyone who have come forward and we assure you that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Seychelles Tourism Board will continue to work with you to make your event the success it deserves to be" said Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Panel situation review: Tourism in Seychelles

Tourism in Seychelles was discussed with the press as part of a review of the region's tourism industry.
Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, took part in a conference call discussion panel as part of this review of the region's tourism Industry.
The Seychelles Minister emphasized in the panel discussion that Seychelles remains a tourism destination known for offering personalized tourism. "This is because we are not after the millions in tourism arrivals, but more because we remain a niche tourism destination and one conscious that we are a destination of choice because we are not a mass market destination,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
The discussions started with the topic of Dubai hotels that are today barely able to break even as occupancy levels plummeted to 50.3 percent.
A tourism expert on the discussion panel said that the Dubai hotel market saw their occupancy levels fall to 50.3 percent in July as overall demand within the city reduced due to the summer heat and because of the impact of Ramadan, according to the latest HotStats survey of full-service four- and five-star hotels by TRI Consulting.

It was already widely reported that occupancy in Dubai hotels was down 4.6 percentage points compared to the same period last year and their gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) plummeted by 99.5 percent to US$0.07, resulting in hotels barely covering operational expenses.
“Dubai hotels were impacted from the collective effect of the annual summer slowdown and the occurrence of the holy month of Ramadan throughout the entire month of July, resulting in occupancy levels falling to 50.3 percent. This had a trickledown effect on the profitability of hotels especially with significantly lower food and beverage revenues during the month. Hotels only marginally broke even as high fixed operating costs resulted in GOPPAR dropping to US$0.07. Although performance was down in July, the overall market remains strong with year-to-date occupancy levels averaging 79.4 percent and profit margins at 46.4 percent,” commented a panelist who quoted Peter Goddard, the Managing Director of TRI Consulting in Dubai.
When the Seychelles Minister was questioned on the August updated visitor statistics that is showing a 1% drop over the same period as 2013, Minister St.Ange said that Seychelles remained a long-haul tourism destination vulnerable to the economic situation of its main source markets. "When France, for example, sneezes, we immediately catch a bad cold. Our Tourism Board diversified our country's tourism markets when it was evident that Europe was undergoing a difficult economic moment. Europe remains our biggest source market, and today all the islands of the Indian Ocean region are following the same trend in stagnant figures out of Europe or even recording a slight drop in numbers. The only exception for Seychelles is Germany which has remained a solid source market with German holidaymakers choosing Seychelles over other destinations," the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture said.
The Seychelles Minister took time to discuss forward statistics available to the Seychelles Tourism Board based on one-to-one discussions with main tour operators and booking engine operators and said that he remained satisfied that the Seychelles Tourism Board, the body mandated to market the Seychelles, was doing a good job. The Minister emphasized that he believed that the success of Seychelles rested on a working public/private sector partnership in the marketing of the islands. "We have a Tourism Board of Directors controlled by the private sector where they hold four board members versus three government officials. We did this to allow the private sector, those sitting in the frontline of our tourism industry, to guide our marketing. They need the industry to work, and they are proactive with ideas, because they depend on a buoyant industry for the survival of their own businesses. We even appointed as our Director of Marketing the professional they, the private sector, nominated, because we wanted them to have their very own person in the chair working with them for the marketing of Seychelles," Minister St.Ange said.
"The Seychelles Tourism Board organizes an annual marketing meeting where all the islands’ representatives in their overseas offices join their marketing team in Seychelles to sit with the private sector and airlines to plan the work ahead. Their plan of action is then further analyzed in their mid-year marketing meeting where they review together again trends, challenges, and successes," Minister St.Ange said. "The Department of Tourism in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture on the other end only look at policy matters, and as a government department falls under the Minister's Office, but the Tourism Board falls under their private-sector-controlled Board of Directors in what is seen as a perfect separation of responsibilities approach," the Minister added.
The Seychelles Minister tabled for discussion forward booking figures compiled by the CEO of the island's Tourism Board based on her one-to-one discussions with tour operators and booking engine operators who are big suppliers for Seychelles. Minister St.Ange said that for the period September to December, France and Italy would remain at -11% respectively when compared to 2013, whereas from Germany an increase of +19 is being expected. South Africa would see a +2, Austria a +38, Russia a +26, Hong Kong a +100, the UAE a +1.5, and La Reunion a +100% over the same period as 2013.
Comparative forward trends for the Indian Ocean region compiled through information from suppliers were tabled for forward booking September to December and Mauritius is seen to be recording a no growth from France but a minus 16% from Italy; Maldives on its part is showing a -4 from France and a -15 from Italy, and Zanzibar is showing a -19 from France and a -17 from Italy.
Air Access was also discussed and the challenges of the destinations analyzed. "At our peak periods, when we should be full, we cannot get booking from our main source markets because the airlines serving Seychelles through the two Middle East hubs are running on a very high load factor. We have the hotel rooms, but cannot get the passengers to Seychelles," Minister St.Ange said.
Mauritius and Maldives are benefiting from a direct flight to China which has opened that market for them whereas Seychelles is seen to be stagnating in opening China as a source market, because air access is only available through the Middle East hubs.
Minister St.Ange spoke about the importance of direct non-stop flights working alongside the hubs and cited the successful CONDOR weekly flight as an example where the destination benefits directly at the same time. The Minister was questioned about the business case for more flights to Seychelles when airlines serving the destination were today averaging but a 60% average load factor, and in reply the Minister said that if that analysis is an applicable golden rule, then Seychelles should not be building any more hotels, resorts, or self-catering apartments, because the average annual occupancy level of the islands is no greater to what the airlines were recording as load factor. "But we are still receptive to building new hotels. We need the FDI, we need a solid updated hospitality network, and we need a comprehensive air access network to support the hospitality network," Minister St.Ange said. "Tourism is the pillar of the Seychelles economy. Visitor arrival numbers are today sitting at 3 times the total population of Seychelles and at over 5 times the working population of the islands. Tourism accounts for 25% of GDP, 25% of employment, and 70% of foreign exchange earnings. Tourism is important, and tourism in Seychelles is 100% for Seychelles," Minister St.Ange pointed out.
The Seychelles Tourism Board has Ambassador Barry Faure (Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) as Chairman, and as board members Captain David Savy (Airline Consultant and Chairman of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority), Steve Fanny (PS at the Ministry of Finance and Industries), Brijesh Jivan representing the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI), Alan Mason (head of Mason's Travel and the Mason's Group of Hotels) representing the Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA), Paul Hodoul (a car hire operator and owner of a small homegrown hotel establishment) representing the Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA), and Philippe Guitton (the Group General Manager of the Constance Hotels Ephelia and Lemuria) representing the Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA) until his working contract in Seychelles ended recently (a replacement for Mr. Guitton is expected to be named soon).
Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Tourism Board, sits as an ex-officio member, and Jenifer Sinon is the Board Secretary

Monday, 3 February 2014


Following heavy rains in North Mahe, the SAVOY HOTEL grounds flooded out as reported by SBC. The area was under water, red and muddy. The hotel is built on a patch of flat land below the rivers high water mark from Quincy and Upper Beau Vallon. It appears the developers did not take this into consideration and the area took a beating from floods this week.

Friday, 31 January 2014

"Chinese Tourist Flocking To Seychelles During New Year"

Jan 30, 2014
A Chinese delegation from the Shanghai Jinshai District is in Seychelles for the first edition of the Seychelles-China Day Celebrations. The delegation headed by Mr. Du Zhizhong, Director of Standing Committee of Jinshai District People’s Congress, met with Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, and Sherin Naiken, Chief Executive Officer of Seychelles Tourism Board, to discuss pertinent issues relating to tourism.
Sherin Naiken of the Seychelles Tourism Board said in 2013 Seychelles set up tourism offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong as part of its marketing strategy to open the destination to the Chinese tourism market. Ms. Naiken said these offices are doing remarkably well to maintain a good flow of tourists from China and to ensure that Seychelles remains visible in China and Hong Kong.
“We’ve made great strides in opening up the Chinese market. Our objective set by our tourism offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing has been attained. Today we’ve recorded more than ten thousand tourists coming from China, a large majority from Guangzhou province.”
Ms. Naiken said that despite this growth there is more to be done in Seychelles for the Chinese market.
“We need new investments in services in Seychelles to meet the expectations and needs of the Chinese holiday makers,” Ms. Naiken said.
The meeting with the delegation of the Shanghai Jinshai District was an eye-opener for the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Tourism Department, because they learned more about the expectations of the Chinese holidaymakers when choosing Seychelles as their holiday destination.
Mr. Du Zhizhong said that Chinese holidaymakers are “big spenders.” He explained that Seychelles is a high-end tourism destination for honeymooners, divers, and photographers. Both Ms. Naiken and Mrs. Lafortune talked about their desire to explore more tourism exchanges between Seychelles and the Shanghai Jinshai District.
For this first edition of the Seychelles-China Day Celebrations, the Shanghai Jinshai Art Group will showcase a spectacular performance at the official opening on January 31 at Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP)
Source: Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture

Thursday, 30 January 2014

"Presale on Savoy Hotel"... Look out for bargains from Praslin to experience the real Seychelles

New Hotel on the Seychelles: Pre-Sale for Five-Star Hotel Savoy Resort & Spa has Started Successfully
Jan 30, 2014 (Menafn - M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) --Tourism on the Seychelles continues to boom. The dream destination has just earned the seal of approval from Lonely Planet Guides and was listed as one of their Top Ten destinations for 2014. Lonely Planet also bestowed the Seychelles with their top accolades for the best beaches and best small island destination. A perfect time for a new five-star hotel! On 18th February the Savoy Resort & Spa ( will open the doors to its 163 modern rooms located directly on the dream beach of Beau Vallon, on the Seychelles' island, Mahe. B2B partners and private travellers will receive up to a 35 per cent rebate on a stay until the grand opening in early summer. The pre-sale phase has begun successfully. Among the booking partners are the travel agencies Dertour, Directours or Gulliver's Travel, as well as the booking platforms and
Mahe, Seychelles -- The Savoy Resort & Spa is located on the famous Beau Vallon Beach, the longest and most beautiful stretch of beach on the Seychelles' island, Mahe. The five-star hotel has a total of 163 modern and roomy double accommodations, including 18 junior and nine regular suites, as well as a penthouse. The size of the rooms and suites range from 40 to 80 m and the penthouse measures 190 m. During the pre-sale, a stay in a double room, including breakfast, starts at 278 Sterling per person. Starting with the grand opening in early summer, the price starts at 428 Sterling per person. The Savoy and its generous 355 m large conference centre also covers the MICE- and business-travel area. The conference centre altogether has three conference rooms that can fit up to 300 participants.
The Savoy also features a generous spa and wellness area. A team of highly qualified therapists and wellness experts are available in the six individual suites, three double suites for couple's treatment, two Thai / Shiatsu rooms and a Russian steam sauna. In addition to various classic and ayurvedic massages, energetic and traditional Asian massages are also offered. With 700 m the pool of the resort is the largest on the Seychelles. A 24-hour fitness centre is open daily for other sports activities.
Two restaurants and a bar serve high-quality food and drinks. The restaurant, Grand Savoy, offers local and international cuisine. The Pescado offers culinary delicacies, such as shellfish, fondue and extraordinary desserts, all with a view of the outdoor pool. Tropical smoothies, a huge selection of long drinks and cocktails, and homemade sangria are served at the Gecko Beach Bar.
Furthermore, the Savoy Resort & Spa is set in a unique dream location: It sits on the longest and widest stretch of beach on the Seychelles, the famous Beau Vallon Beach on Mahe, one of the most beautiful beaches in the whole world. This makes it a perfect vacation destination for families because there are no dangerous currents, no sharp corals and no steep drop-offs at this fine, white-sand beach. There are diverse water sport and diving centres nearby for visitors who want to do more than just lie in the sun.
About Savoy Resort & Spa
The five-star Savoy Resort & Spa is located on the famous Beau Vallon Beach on the Seychelles' island, Mahe. Altogether, the guests have their choice of 163 modern and comfortable rooms and suites on five floors, as well as a modern conference centre. What makes the Savoy Resort & Spa special is the unique location directly on the white-sand beach with a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean. For further information, please visit

Iles Des Palmes resort
Iles Des Palmes Eco Resort Offers Savoy Presale Special

 Iles Des Palmes Eco Resort congratulates the SAVOY on its February opening based in Mahe.

Any traveler booking a SAVOY-Seychelles room and then flying onwards to Praslin for a fantastic Seychelles experience will be entitled to One (1)  free night  courtesy of Iles Des Palmes Eco Resort for any booking of 4 nights, stay One (1) extra night free.
Bookings can be made directly to reservations desk:

Take advantage of this presale offer, and see the Best Island in Seychelles, with the Best Beach in The World: Anse Lazio!