If we were to judge by the following comment by Hind and Sara, two recent visitors to the Seychelles stand at the Bride Show Abu Dhabi 2016, which goes: “I loved how Seychelles was explained to me, and I think because of this, I’ll be visiting soon. Thank you for such optimism…” then there is no doubt at all that the Seychelles has, once more, left its mark on the minds of around 20,000 visitors who attended this prestigious event.
This is the sixth time that the Seychelles has participated in this highly-recommended annual event which, this year, was not only bigger, but better in every sense of the word. The 4-day event took place from Wednesday, April 13, to Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Visitors to the show feasted their eyes on dazzling bridal gowns and glittery jewelry, were astounded by the vast array of the latest hair products, and were swayed by the enthusiasm of the wedding planners and caterers.
The event would not have been complete of course without the presence of travel agents and tourist boards advertising their destinations with the promise of a perfect honeymoon. And none were more convincing than Aliette Esther, Tourism Attaché of the Seychelles Tourism Abu Dhabi Office, and Amia Jovanovic-Desir from the Seychelles Tourism Head Office in the Seychelles. Expert at their trade, and brimming with enthusiasm, Ms. Esther and Mrs. Jovanovic-Desir passionately listed all the reasons as to why the Seychelles are always the best destination, not only for honeymooners but also for standard family holidays. In addition to this, the Seychelles is becoming increasingly popular with the expatriate community for weddings, due to the beautiful and romantic location of the islands as well as the ease of marriage procedures.
It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that the Seychelles stand was one of those which attracted the most visitors. The beautiful stand, which depicted a coco-de-mer leaf as well as the translucent blue sea, captured the true essence of the tropical islands and spoke of many romantic promises. Brochures of the destination as well as fridge magnets and chocolates, which were made especially for the event, were given in brightly-colored bags sporting the Seychelles Tourism logo. Ms. Esther and Mrs. Jovanovich-Desir did not fail to impress the visitors with all the information and stories they were happy to share. Indeed, Croydon and Desiree from Goa quoted: “If the people in Seychelles are half as nice and colorful as the ladies at the counter, then Seychelles is a must for our honeymoon. The people make the place.” Indeed, they do!
Visitors to the stand came from far and wide: Azerbaijan, the UK, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, the Sudan, Kenya, Russia, Pakistan, the USA, Uganda, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, India, and the UAE of course. Among them were people who had never been to the Seychelles and were eager to go, people who have been and were keen to go back, and people who have been many times and just came to the stand to share their good memories. One of them was Asma from Saudi Arabia who had the heartwarming story of how she and her husband went to the Seychelles on their honeymoon 30 years ago. “…There was no electricity, no cars, and no TV. There was only one cinema, and it was Indian, but it was amazing.” Her eyes lit up at the thought, and we could see that this was an unforgettable time for her. She has since moved on to have many children, so the Seychelles must have cast a lucky spell on her. Sara, a recent visitor, couldn’t stop praising the islands. To quote her own words: “I had a great time in the Seychelles. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the nature. I would totally recommend this place at any time of the year.” As for Natasha who has not been yet, she had this to say: “I would love to go to the Seychelles. I have seen so many beautiful photos and heard wonderful things.” Charmaine, on the other hand, wants to “…See in living color, the natural beauty of the female and male coco-de-mer palms.” Another visitor to the stand proudly shared her photos of the coco-de-mer.
“What was especially noticeable at the Bride Show Abu Dhabi was that the Seychelles was already known by everyone”, said Ms. Jovanovic-Desir. “Indeed, it was quite charming to see a smile light up peoples’ faces as soon as they saw the stand. Events like this drive home the fact that visibility of the islands needs to be constantly maintained, and that we should not become complacent in any way,” added Ms. Esther. “With daily flights to the Seychelles, no visa requirements and, not to mention the many virtues of the islands, there is no doubt that the Seychelles are a favorite destination with many, and it is even more certain that there will be a further increase on visitor arrivals this year,” said Ms. Esther.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .