The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) continues with its pursuit of raising awareness and increasing the destination’s visibility in the Nordic region in 2018.

STB’s Director for Scandinavia, Russia/CIS & Eastern Europe, Karen Confait, kicked off the new year, showcasing Seychelles at the Norwegian Travel Fair ‘Reiselivsmessen’ in Oslo, Norway.

The fair was held from January 12 to 14, after which Ms. Confait led the Seychelles delegation to the MATKA Nordic Travel Fair in Helsinki, Finland, from January 18 to 21.

This is the fourth time Seychelles has participated in the annual Norwegian Travel Fair, which focusses mainly on the consumers, with the first day dedicated to travel trade professionals.

The fair recorded over 42,000 visitors this year, which represents an increase over 2017 and STB witnessed a constant flow of visitors at the Seychelles stand over the weekend.

“We were surprised to see that many of the visitors coming to see us had already booked their trip to Seychelles and most of them will be travelling during the month of February this year,” said Ms Confait.

“With Norway’s strong economy and high disposable income, it has the potential to become an important high yield market for Seychelles,” Ms Confait added.

The day before joining the Norwegian Travel Fair, the Seychelles Tourism Board & Masons Travel, represented by Amy Michel also participated in a Business-to-Business workshop – Travel Match. This is an annual event that provides exhibitors with a perfect platform to meet with their Norwegian travel trade partners over pre-scheduled, one-on-one meetings. It enabled the Seychelles representatives to meet their main partners to discuss the way forward and to also establish new contacts.

From Norway, Mason’s Travel, again represented by Amy Michel, also joined STB’s Director for Scandinavia, Russia/CIS & Eastern Europe, Karen Confait at the MATKA Nordic Travel Fair in Helsinki, Finland. 7°South represented by Anna Butler Payette also joined the Seychelles stand at this year’s event.

STB has been participating in this annual exhibition for the past 10 years. MATKA, which is the largest travel fair in the Nordic region, provides the perfect opportunity for exhibitors from across the globe to network and exchange contacts with travel professionals in the Nordic & Baltic regions.

Although it recorded a lower turnout than last year, the MATKA Nordic Travel Fair still attracted over 63,000 visitors.

Seychelles’ stand was located in the very lively and colourful ‘Sun & Sea’ themed area alongside other long-haul exotic destinations such as the islands of the Bahamas, attracting a host of visitors.

Ms Confait said: “Overall, we recorded a very good attendance. Visitors to our stand were mostly people looking for information as they have already booked their vacation, while others were shopping around to choose their next holiday destination. Our main tour operators prepared various packages which we distributed, this worked very well as many visitors were also looking for prices and offers.”

Seychelles was further pushed into the limelight at MATKA, as Turkish Airlines ran a promotion on the first day, awarding one lucky winner with a flight ticket to Seychelles. Ms Confait was invited to present the prize to the winner and to say a few words about the destination to the crowd present.

The Seychelles team encountered visitors that had been to both events the previous year and had already travelled to Seychelles. They all wanted to share their experiences, providing very positive feedback to STB and representatives of the local trade.

The fairs are therefore seen as the perfect platform to continue raising the destination’s profile with the hope of further increasing visitor arrivals, not only among potential holidaymakers in Norway and Finland but from the entire Nordic region.

Although they are the two smaller markets from the Nordic region, both Norway and Finland recorded a positive increase in the number of visitors to Seychelles in 2017.

Visitor numbers from Norway grew by 48 percent, while arrival figures from Finland increased by 83 percent last year when compared to 2016. Growth from Finland is mainly attributed to the increased air access to Seychelles, through Qatar Airways & Turkish Airlines that fly to its capital, Helsinki.