Published on : Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, took part in a discussion panel as part of this review of the region’s tourism Industry.
The Minister highlighted in the panel discussion that Seychelles remains a tourism destination known for offering tailored tourism.
A tourism professional said on the discussion panel that the Dubai hotel market saw their occupancy levels collapse 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 broadly reported that occupancy in Dubai hotels was down 4.6 percent 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.
While answering to the question 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
St.Ange said that 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 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 collected 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.
Discussing air access and the challenges of the destinations Minister St.Ange said. “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
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.
When questioned about the business case for more flights to Seychelles when airlines serving the destination were today averaging but a 60% average load factor, the Minister replied 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.
Minister St.Ange pointed out, “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”.
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.
Tags: Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Seychelles reviewed