Winning accolades across various categories at the World Travel Awards 2017, demonstrates that Seychelles, in spite of being small in size, remains relevant as a tourist destination.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Mrs. Sherin Francis said this on Wednesday last week, while addressing representatives of the award-winning businesses.
STB and the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine joined together to honour the national airline, port authority and hotels, who were voted the Indian Ocean best and the best in Seychelles, in their respective categories at this year’s World Travel Awards. This was also an opportunity for the award winners to be presented to the local media.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Francis said: “For the people who did the voting; in spite of being small in size, those people still found us [STB, Air Seychelles, Port Authority and hotels] to be relevant.”
The World Travel Awards 2017 were announced in a ceremony held in the Maldives earlier this month, in the presence of tourism and hospitality leaders from the region and international media.
For the third consecutive year, the Seychelles Tourism Board took home the award for the Indian Ocean’s Leading Tourist Board, while Seychelles was voted the Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Destination for the fourth consecutive year.
In the airline category, the travel awards crowned Air Seychelles as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline for the third consecutive year and also the region’s best for Business Class and Cabin Crew service – both for the fourth consecutive year. And for the first time, Air Seychelles was named the Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline Brand.
Port Victoria was voted the Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Port for the fifth consecutive year. Two hotels — Constance Ephelia and Raffles Praslin Seychelles — were voted the Indian Ocean’s Leading Green Resort and Leading Villa Resort, respectively.
Mrs Francis noted that what sets Seychelles apart from its Indian Ocean neighbours is the people working in the tourism industry, who are passionately working to sell the destination as a product which they firmly believe in.
Commenting on STB’s achievement as the Leading Tourist Board, Mrs Francis emphasized on the hard work and devotion of the organisation’ overseas and local staff who strive to maintain good relationships with their key partners.
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to recognize the very best travel organizations in the world, through a global vote including by travel and tourism professionals.
Awards are presented for excellence in providing services in different categories of the world’s travel and tourism industry. This includes air services, car rental services, spas, travel agencies and tour operators, hotels and resorts, among others.
Air Seychelles bagged four out of five accolades in the airline category. The airline’s Chief Executive Mr. Roy Kinnear said winning the Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline Brand for the first time is one accolade that should not go unrecognized.
“It is the first time it had been awarded in the airline category. The word brand is very very important and for Air Seychelles against many competitors in the region and also in a wider spread worldwide geographic form to win the leading airline brand says something about the airline name, it says something about the word Seychelles, it says something about the reputation of the airline, and the awareness of it. And we really should not underestimate the value of being brand recognised,” said Kinnear.
In the hotels category, Raffles Praslin Seychelles featuring 86 villa, emerged as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Villa Resort, for the third consecutive year. The General Manager of the hotel, Mr Joerg Roterberg said with the discerning traveller having a choice nowadays it is important to take note of the competition, which hotels in Seychelles are up against in the Indian Ocean region.
“We are comparing ourselves with Mauritius, the Maldives, a lot of high profile luxury destinations. So it makes us especially proud to bring this award to the Seychelles and to our little rock called Praslin,” said Roterberg.
For Constance Ephelia, winning the accolade for the Indian Ocean Leading Green Resort ties in well with the United Nations’ declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This is also the second consecutive year that Constance Ephelia was presented with the same award.
The General Manager of the hotel, Mr. Kai Hoffmeister said it’s the small gestures they do, including recycling, cleaning up, reducing the use of plastic and educating the staff that have not gone unnoticed.
“I think all of us can be more green. Everyone that comes to the Seychelles as a tourist, and even we realize how lush this country is. So the contribution to the environment is definitely at the heart of our priorities…We are also green certified, which is quite a lengthy process…but we do believe it’s something worth investing in. The environment and surroundings where we finds ourselves in are unique…and we need to do all we can to protect it,” said Hoffmeister.
The clear turquoise Ocean of the Seychelles islands which offer great island hopping experience are attributes that attract cruise visitors to the archipelago. The Seychelles Ports Authority is another organisation that has been recognised for the services rendered to the cruise ships that call to the island nation’s shores.
The Port Authority’s Deputy CEO, Herbert Houareau said: “Our ports remains open 24 hours a day…we will work harder to ensure safety and further improvement to the port functions. It is a collective work encompassing everyone from all sectors involved in the tourism industry.”
Aside of businesses coming out on top in their respective categories for the Indian Ocean awards, other Seychelles hotels and one car hire business were also voted the best in their respective categories in Seychelles and they were also honoured at last week’s event.
Seychelles’ Leading Boutique Hotel 2017 – MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa
Seychelles’ Leading Car Rental Company 2017 – Hertz
Seychelles’ Leading Conference Hotel 2017 – Eden Bleu Hotel
Seychelles’ Leading Family Resort 2017 – Constance Ephélia
Seychelles’ Leading Green Resort 2017 – Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa
Seychelles’ Leading Hotel 2017 – Constance Lémuria Seychelles
Seychelles’ Leading Hotel Suite 2017 – Two Bedroom Presidential Villa @ Hilton
Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa
Seychelles’ Leading Luxury Hotel Villa 2017 – MAIA Signature Villa @ MAIA Luxury Resort & Spa
Seychelles’ Leading Resort 2017 – Enchanted Island Resort