Air Seychelles has announced that it will be starting a new series of weekly charter flights between China and Seychelles in December, 2017.
The national airline will operate 13 return flights between the city of Chengdu in Southwest China and the Seychelles’ main island Mahé, from December 26, 2017 to March 20, 2018.
Chengdu — the capital of China’s Sichuan province — with a population of over 14 million people, is one of the main emerging outbound tourism cities.
The flights will be operated by a wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft, providing convenient weekly connections for business and leisure travellers.
Subject to regulatory approval, the flights are set to depart Seychelles at 11.25am on Tuesdays, arriving in Chengdu early on Wednesday at 00.25am.
The return flight will take-off from Chengdu at 1.30am on Wednesdays arriving in Seychelles at 6.30am the same day. The flight time is approximately nine hours.
Air Seychelles said it has partnered with Beijing Tongxing Aviation Services to bring these charter flights to the travelling public.
The airline’s Chief Executive, Roy Kinnear, said the new series of charter flights from Chengdu, will offer more than 6,500 return seats between China and Seychelles over the next four months.
“The growth in outbound tourism from China has created strong travel demand to Seychelles, and we are excited to work hand-in-hand with Beijing Tongxing Aviation Services to provide greater accessibility for Chinese travellers looking to discover our islands,” said Mr Kinnear.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China has sent 11,596 visitors to Seychelles up to December 3 this year. This represents a 17 percent drop in Chinese visitors when compared to last year.
In spite of the drop, China remains a relatively new, but valued market, which the Seychelles Tourism Board is working to develop to its full potential.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Sherin Francis said: “The flight should work in our advantage as one of the drawback in our strategy for developing China is having direct air access with the important cities in China.”
It is important to note that STB launched a new marketing strategy in China, in May this year, targeting the more travel savvy visitors from the first tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu, with their supporting second tier cities.