Seychelles Tourism Minister calls for more opportunities for cultural tourism spending

Between January and May this year, 87.27% of tourist spending in the Seychelles economy was spent on accommodation, according to figures from the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS).

The figure was announced at the Tourism Department’s mid-year marketing meeting on Tuesday.

The remaining 12.73% was spent on other services such as restaurants, travel agencies, car rentals and other tourism-related businesses.

Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde said in his opening speech that this cannot go on any longer and that the country must do better.

“That’s why, for the past two years, we’ve been working on a program that we now call cultural tourism or community tourism, through which we will take visitors away from hotels, beaches and the sea, and bring them into the community. “, said Radegonde.

From the start of 2022 to the end of May, the country has earned over $223 million in tourism revenue. In June 2022, the Seychelles welcomed 153,609 visitors to its shores this year. Community involvement in the tourism industry should provide visitors with activities to do and thus diversify the product offering.

In her press interview, Principal Secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, said that “when we talk about product diversification, one of the things we are aiming for is cultural tourism.”

“We are working closely with other government departments to reintroduce bazaars and authentic experiences. During the second half of the year, some of these activities will start to take place and they will be recurring activities on the calendar,” Francis said. .

The Department of Tourism sees cultural tourism as an opportunity for community members to participate in the tourism industry which is the main contributor to the economy of Seychelles.

A key piece of information that the Ministry of Tourism wants everyone involved in the tourism industry to keep in mind is that there is a difference between getting tourists to spend more and overpricing goods and services to take more their money. Ensuring that visitors get their money’s worth remains the biggest challenge facing the ministry.

“As far as prices are concerned, work is underway to revise the standard fare that taxis charge customers. Once this is public, we will on our side ensure that this information is published so that visitors can see it. have access. By doing this, they will be in a better position to make an informed decision when they are in the country,” Francis said.

“We must also bear in mind, however, that we are more or less in a free market and that we cannot force an operator within the industry to say that this is the price at which their services should be We want all of our operators to realize that the industry is very fragile because our competitors have already opened their doors to visitors and offer good value for money,” she continued.

Other statistics on the Seychelles tourism industry were also shared with participants present at the meeting. France, Germany and Russia were the top three markets for Seychelles in the first half of 2022. A total of 21,521 French visitors landed in Seychelles, followed by 18,374 German citizens and 15,315 Russians.

With 153,609 visitors landing in Seychelles in the first six months of the year, the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean is on course to surpass last year’s total which s amounted to 182,849 visitors.

The tourism department predicts the country will end the year with around 258,000 visitors. The figure is the country’s best-case scenario for the year, which also accounts for around two-thirds of the number of visitor arrivals in 2019 – the industry’s best year yet – when the island nation welcomed more than 428 000 visitors on its shores.

This mid-year marketing meeting was the first face-to-face meeting since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the meeting was to bring together local business partners and destination marketing representatives based locally and overseas to discuss the various important developments in the Seychelles markets and strategy for the next six months.

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