Seychelles Tourism Board Reports Strong Growth, but Wants to Boost Slow Period in May and June

The Seychelles Tourism Board is calling on hotels and airlines to combine efforts to provide promotional packages for May and June, the island nation's lowest-performing months for tourist arrivals.

"If we want to achieve bigger growth in 2020, our strategy has to focus on our weakest months of the year. These months remains Seychelles' weakest months and our marketing activities alone are not enough," said Sherin Francis, the chief executive of the Board.

Francis added that advertising packages with short notice seldom works for Seychelles. She was addressing the annual marketing meeting of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) held at Constance Ephelia Resort on Tuesday.

STB's mid-year marketing meeting allows the Board to directly interact with its local partners and discuss plans for the coming year. It also allows the Department for Tourism to take stock of the status of Seychelles' tourism industry and reflect on the achievements and challenges faced over the last six months.

Francis explained that there is slow growth in bed stock from large hotels. This means that though demand for more beds has grown, the supply side has been slower "with an average growth of only 3.6 percent hotel beds over the 2016 to 2018 period."

"We do not foresee any new supply of rooms until September this year with Club Med on St Anne island with 295 rooms. We have to remain mindful of that when planning for growth as rooms have become an inhibiting factor for growth through a certain period of the year," said Francis.

The last time a medium or large hotel opened was in 2016 with the opening of Carana Beach Hotel. In March 2018, Desroches Hotel re-opened its doors, under the management of Four Seasons, with 71 rooms.

Despite this challenge, the tourism minister, Didier Dogley has said that the "industry is doing well."

"Looking forward, we do not foresee any major turbulences but it is not a time for us to rest. We must be mindful that this industry is a very dynamic and fragile one," said Dogley.

The statistics to date for visitors' arrival show an 8 percent increase in 2019 compared with 2018. Trends over the last decade show steady growth in arrivals from 175,000 visitors in 2010 to an expected 394,000 visitors this year.

This will represent a yearly average increase of 12 percent over the 10-year period. For 2020, STB envisaged growth of four percent over 2019

France and Germany have been dominating the visitors' arrival basket, accounting for almost a third of all the visitors in 2018.

Income from the tourism sector has also seen consistent growth over the last five years, from $392 million in 2015 to $578 million in 2018. This represents a yearly growth rate of 11.8 percent over the last four years.

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