A popular fair at the start of the vacation planning season, now in its 47th year, is the leading travel and leisure fair in Germany’s largest and most affluent state, located in the southeastern part of the country and bordering on Austria, and Seychelles Tourism was there in a big way. It attracted nearly 120,000 consumers last year, with 1,200 exhibitors from 60 countries, and runs for 5 days from mid-week into the weekend.
For the third year in a row, the Seychelles is enjoying special “partner country” status at a major tourism fair in Germany. Ms. Bernadette Willemin and representatives of the island’s visual and performing artists, and a delegation of Seychelles tourism representatives, is currently attending f.re.e, the annual consumer travel show in Munich, the capital of Bavaria.
On opening day, Wednesday, February 10, the Seychelles delegation took part in the official opening ceremony, a tour of the fair, and a press conference at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, attended by numerous journalists. Joining the Tourism Board’s Director for Europe, Bernadette Willemin, were Ms. Edith Hunzinger, Manager of the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Office in Germany, and Ms. Natacha Servina, Marketing Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board. On the host’s side, the opening was attended by Mr. Holetschek, Member of Parliament of the Free State of Bavaria; Dr. Pfeiffer, Managing Director of Messe München; Ms. Barbara Müller, Project Manager; and other dignitaries.
Throughout the day, dancers and singers of Latroup Nasyonal were entertaining visitors, while artists, Mssrs. James Agricole and Egbert Marday, gave curious audiences a vivid visual impression of their home country by painting typical Seychelles scenes and landscapes at the stand and selling their works to appreciative customers.
The fair is expected to give another boost to the already excellent stream of visitors who find their way from Germany to the Seychelles, year after year, contributing about 13% to the visitor total. With numerous reports on television, radio, and print, much of the media attention surrounding the fair is focused on the “official partner country.”
“We are proud to have secured this special status for our country at the Munich fair,” says Ms. Hunzinger. “Being ‘partner country’ in three consecutive years at three different key travel shows in three important — and very affluent — regions of our market creates a powerful presence in the minds of trade and consumers that is clearly reflected in the strong visitor flow from this source market to the Seychelles.”
Representing the trade partners and co-exhibitors at the Seychelles stand were Ms. Lucie Barone (VPM Bestsail), Mr. Ash Behari (Coco de Mer Hotel and Black Parrot Suites), Ms. Barbara Epifanova (Coral Strand Hotel and Savoy Resort & Spa), Mr. Thomas Petersen (SeaTravel), Mr. Derek Savy (Le Duc de Praslin and La Digue Island Lodge), and Mr. Walter Cuccarano (Seyvillas).
Transportation for the Seychelles delegation was provided by Etihad Airways in cooperation with Air Berlin and Air Seychelles. The official Seychelles’ airline partner for this fair offers daily flights between Munich and Mahé via its hub in Abu Dhabi.