The annual Tourism Ball in the Seychelles was the activity that kicked-off celebrations for World Tourism Day in the islands known to have tourism as the pillar of its economy. On Saturday, September 24, the list of those present at the Eden Bleu Hotel at Eden Islands was very much like the Who’s Who in Tourism of the Seychelles.
A packed ballroom was filled with more hotels, DMCs, airlines, and cruise ship companies booking their tables for the night when the tourism industry of Seychelles see their private sector trade join the public sector in the most convivial and relaxing evening. The Seychelles tourism industry has witnessed continued growth and successes as it consolidates itself, and the coming together of the tourism trade in the evening marking tourism day, was proof enough of the positive feeling in Seychelles tourism.
Sherin Francis, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said as she addressed the Tourism Ball: “It is a real pleasure to be here amongst you against the beautiful backdrop of the Eden bleu hotel to reminisce over our tourism year.
“I would like to start by first by extending a big thank you to all of you for being here in this gathering today. I was really amazed at how fast the tickets were sold out this year, which signaled the enthusiasm of our partners to be present for tonight’s gathering.
“It has been so far a great year for our tourism industry! And you can all attest to that as I remember conversation with certain of you, telling me your overall figures so far. Seychelles has fared well in this ever competitive industry for a second year in a row.
“I know this excellent result has been because of collective hard work, us at the tourism board, the ministry, the DMCs and travel agents, the hotels and more importantly the airlines to complete the circle. It is all because of hard work. Success can only be achieved through hard work and perseverance. It does not happen automatically, and it does not happen by magic!
“Let us not forget that while we enjoyed the 19% percent growth last year, our neighbors Maldives and Mauritius registered 4% and 11% growth respectively and world tourism only grew by 4.4%. This year the UN world tourism organization has predicted that tourism worldwide will only grow by 3.5 to 4.5%. “Here we are with so few resources when compared to our competitors and yet we are faring pretty well with a 10% growth.
“I am a firm believer that unity makes strength, and we can be only strong as our weakest link. This year’s performance goes again to show, what can be achieved when we worked together with common purpose.
“I know we still have not got it completely right. There are areas where we at the tourism board, the airlines and the trade we still need to see things from eye to eye. But, as long as we keep on persevering, we always look for time to meet, discuss and strategize, I know we will be able to achieve great things.
“Ladies and gentlemen, members from the trade,
“Seychelles is our beloved country, and I implore that if we want to make tourism work in this country we must continue to set aside all of our differences, our different ideologies and beliefs and keep working for the same cause. It is the only way we can win for Seychelles. As a team. Only as a team.
“On a lighter note…
“My speech would be incomplete without having the chance to thank all of our partners. You know who you are. Our success is largely because of your support. My team and I would like to again convey our most sincere thank you!
“I always like to seize these opportunities to also extend a warm thank you to my winning team. I am happy some of you are here with us tonight. To Minister St Ange and the whole ministry, department of tourism and of course to our chairperson and board members who are always there for support and guidance.
“My final thank you I would like to extend on behalf of my team is to our families who support us while we have to discharge our duties. Being in the tourism industry is like having an extra marital affair. Thank you to all those very understanding and supporting families for having being there for us. Thank you to my husband, who still married me even knowing I have a demanding job which robs me from important moments at home.”
Roy Kinnear, the CEO of Air Seychelles was next to address the large crowd gathered for the Ball of the year.
Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles said: “Air Seychelles’ role, as the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, is to facilitate not just our primary objective of growing inbound tourism to Seychelles, but also provide connectivity, linking countries over Seychelles. A strong network of flight connectivity promotes travel for tourism, connects people with friends and family, and supports the business related matters of trade and commerce,” said Mr Kinnear.
It was Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who said when he took to the podium that he wanted to take the opportunity to thank the tourism trade of Seychelles to be united in the work with the Tourism Board to help consolidate the islands’ tourism industry. Minister St.Ange also made it a point to thank the Sherin Francis, the CEO of the Tourism Board, and her staff for all their hard work for Seychelles. “Today, we celebrate a milestone for Seychelles. We are all present today, because Seychelles is noticed around the world, and for such accomplishment, we need to thank the hotels and airlines for promoting Seychelles as a tourist destination,” Minister St.Ange said. The Minister went on to state that soon Seychelles airport will welcome two new airlines – Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines. “Seychelles will soon welcome two new airlines, which will bring more tourists to our paradise islands. Seychelles is now connected to the big wide world, with tourism remaining the pillar of its economy. We want to see Seychelles tourism bloom, and to do that we will work with Air Seychelles along with the other airlines,” he added.
During the event, two paintings – by Nigel Henri and George Camille – went under the hammer, with the CEO of Air Seychelles buying one. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Seychelles Tourism Academy (STA) to purchase IT equipment.
This was followed by the Seychelles Tourism Raffle Draw, along with the launch of the “Golden Raffles” whereby two people will stand a chance to win a 10-day all-inclusive holiday in Seychelles. The lottery tickets can be bought at the Seychelles International Airport and a portion of the revenue will be distributed among charity, community development and eco-tourism projects.
Also during the evening Second Princess Samiya Albert along with Mrs. Francis unveiled the poster advertising “Miss Seychelles … Another World” pageant 2017.
Dancing to the sounds of Fame Band then took over, and the dance floor of the Eden Bleu was full to capacity as everyone let their hair down in an atmosphere of fun and detente. “The Tourism Ball 2016 is one of the best ever,” said hoteliers present.
For more information on Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange, click here.