Seychelles Tourism Board opens new doors for Small Enterprise Promotion Agency in South Korea
The 10th anniversary celebration of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) office in Korea was the perfect opportunity to showcase various aspects of the island destination’s entrepreneurship sector.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles’ Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (SEnPA) Penny Belmont joined the STB’s Chief Executive Sherin Francis on her recent mission trip to Seoul from August 28 to September 2.
Marty Chang Sam, also from SENPA as well as two artisans – Mickey Arnephy, specializing in ceramic crafts and Anna Payet who specializes in handicrafts, jewelry and tailoring also formed part of the delegation.
Aside from enjoying the sun, sea, and sand while in Seychelles, holidaymakers also search for the perfect mementos to bring back home and share with families and friends. Local jewelry, decorative items, paintings among others that depict various aspects of the island destination are the most sought-after souvenirs.
The two Seychellois artisans had the perfect opportunity to showcase some of the craft works that Seychelles has to offer at a reception to mark 10 years since the opening of STB’s regional office in Korea. The reception was held on Wednesday, August 30 at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul and brought together some 130 individuals including media and travel trade representatives.
The Seychellois entrepreneurs also showcased their creations to potential South Korean visitors and influencers at a master cooking class, which also saw the participation of a Seychellois chef.
Mrs. Payet said being invited to attend the 10th anniversary celebrations of the STB Office in South Korea was an opportunity to let the Korean people know about the various locally-made products they can expect to find while on holiday in the Seychelles.
It was in 2005 that Mrs. Payet ventured into the handicrafts, jewelry and tailoring business joining her husband who had been in the trade for some 30 years.
Her business – Island collection based at Beau Vallon – specializes in making jewelry from corals and shells, embroidery on towels, bags, and t-shirts as well as using wood to make decorative objects depicting the different animals found in Seychelles.
“The people I met really appreciated the local products, which they described as beautiful and unique and different from what they are used to in South Korea,” said Mrs. Payet.
Aside from showcasing her handicrafts and other products, Mrs. Payet said being in South Korea also allowed her to see how they valorize their cultural heritage.
For Mr. Arnephy, who owns Later Rouz ceramics, a business that makes various items including vases, pencil holders, lanterns, decorative items among others using clay, it was impressive to see the ceramic items made by the South Koreans.
“It was a fruitful trip and I was impressed with what I found there as they do a lot of good pottery. At the same time, the Koreans were very interested in my products,” said Mr. Arnephy who is based at the crafts village at Au Cap.
The SEnPA officials and the two entrepreneurs also had the opportunity to visit several Korean artisanal studios.
The CEO of SEnPA, Ms. Penny Belmont, who joined the STB CEO, Mrs. Francis, on several media interviews also had the opportunity to hold discussions with representatives of the Korea Economic Development Cooperative.
“These were fruitful discussions that have laid the foundation for exchanges between Seychellois and South Korean entrepreneurs, and the opportunity for training, for example Mr. Arnephy who is into ceramics will be able to go and learn from his South Korean counterparts who have vast experience in making pottery,” said Ms. Belmont.
“They have invited us to come back with a larger group of artisans and from there we will have the opportunity to sign an agreement for further collaboration,” she added.