Seychelles Challenges: Hate disrupts lives and in turn hurts businesses
Hate has no home in the lives of those who value inclusion, tolerance and random acts of kindness. Many may be familiar with the song lyrics, “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” Many of you share this sentiment. Hate disrupts lives and in turn hurts businesses.
These are the quotes made by Alain St. Ange, former minister of tourism for the Island Nation : Republic of the Seychelles.
In Seychelles, we know that the economy is facing real challenges which will impact on the lives of the average citizen. As an island Nation, we remain dependent on tourism. A recent survey in Australia recently concluded that Travel Agents remain more relevant than ever for tourism. Travel Agents use Tour Operators’ published programs and their tourists are generally met and handled by a Destination Management Company (DMC).
Extracts from the edited notes by Peter Needham on the recent survey reveals:- Three quarters of Australian travelers view travel agents as a “trusted source of travel and safety advice” – a major increase over the 57% figure recorded in 2012. The findings, which derive from a survey conducted by travel insurer SureSave, also show that in 2017, “40% of Australians booked their last overseas leisure trip with a travel agent (either in-store, over the phone or via email)”.
“Travelers are still turning to agents for their travel booking and insurance needs, but not because they view agents as the default booking option,” Ross McDonald, SureSave’s general manager distribution commented, “They’re coming back to agents time and time again as they genuinely seek and value the level of knowledge and expertise that agents offer.”
Travelers are also becoming increasingly savvy about the intricacies of travel insurance, and in particular the “window of risk”, which identifies the earliest point at which a traveler is at risk of being out of pocket. In 2017, 53% of respondents purchased travel insurance “at the same time as booking their holiday”, in comparison to only 37% in 2012.
“We can attribute this marked improvement in part to the efforts of agents to educate their customers,” McDonald said.
“Of the respondents who booked travel plans through an agent, 86% revealed that their agent had explained the benefits of purchasing travel insurance at the same time as booking their travel plans. In terms of ensuring that travelers are informed and well-prepared in advance of their holiday, the role of the agent is crucial and is becoming more important each year. We’re passionate about ensuring that agents are well-equipped with the right information and tools so their customers are able to choose the travel insurance policy that’s right for them.”
For Seychelles, it should never be forgotten that Tour Operators have been the faithful partners of the island’s tourism industry for decades, their printed programs proudly occupying many a shop window in key tourism source markets. This has helped to keep Seychelles visible and relevant as a tourism destination. The local agents of these Tour Operators, the DMCs on their part, continue to work with the Tourism Board to promote Seychelles products, making it a win-win for the country and local businesses.
Seychelles today needs to refocus on all of its tourism niche markets. The traditional niche markets of diving, sailing, fishing and bird watching must continue to be promoted. However, the time has come to boost and nurture the cruise tourism market in Seychelles. The port where tourists will disembark is the first experience the visitors will have of a given island; they will step onto the concrete slab, amid industrial containers, armed with their professional cameras, with nothing to take photographs of. Therefore, we must ensure our port is worthy of their scrutiny and attention. Moreover, with the town of Victoria abandoned by shopkeepers and businessmen after midday on Saturdays, and becoming a barren wasteland on Sundays, there is not much for tourists to see and do in the country’s capital on weekends. Local eateries are few and far between, and in terms of entertainment, the average tourist would have to travel to the other side of the island to engage in some water activities.
An example of a market which is yet to be tapped into is that of Casino Junkets. Casino operators would hire junketeers to fill a plane with qualified gamblers. These players would get free airfares, free hotel accommodations, free meals and free shows in exchange for their commitment to gamble a specific number of hours per day at an explicit average bet size. Casinos, of course, are operating on the assumption that the players would lose more than their out of pocket expenses for bringing, accommodating and feeding them.