Spain currently contributes about 2 percent to the overall tourist arrivals per year to Seychelles, but the country is now determined to capture a bigger share of that market with the reopening of a tourist office in Madrid. The chief executive officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board and eTurboNews ambassador, Alain St.Ange, has hailed Seychelles President James Michel’s recent announcement during his state visit in Spain, that Seychelles will be making a comeback on this market.
Mr. St.Ange, who also formed part of the presidential delegation in Spain, told the press upon his return that he totally embraced President’ Michel’s call to look at how to increase the number of visitors from Spain.
“President Michel made it a personal commitment to see that the country reopens an office in Spain, and he pursued that with discussions on possible air links between the two countries,” he said.
Mr. St.Ange explained that another option with regards to air links came up during their discussions and this had to do with a twin-center option with Africa. Spanish visitors would be able to combine a safari and beach holiday, to enable them to discover two destinations.
Mr. St.Ange said that there are great potentials in twin holidays, and it is a concept that the Seychelles Tourism Board had been pushing hard for the past year.
“Discussions will continue to see how we can move forward with that because if we want to bring in more tourists, we have to bring in more flights. We depend a lot on air access,” he said. “Air Seychelles gives us regular services, and we have daily flights from the Middle East. But we have to look at other airlines.”
Mr. St.Ange also noted it is important that we have enough hotels to sustain the continued rise in visitor arrivals.
Speaking about the interests in Seychelles on the Spanish market, Mr. St.Ange said they had been very encouraged by what they saw and heard in terms of feedbacks, and they are now determined to make this market more profitable.
He said the President’s visit to Spain had given the destination a lot of publicity on that market, and they want to build on that and keep Seychelles in the minds of the Spanish people.
“Spain, like France, has a strong outbound market, and the government’s decision to reopen a tourist office in Madrid falls very well with our own strategies at the tourism board to diversify our source markets and reposition ourselves in potential places where we may not have been very active in the past,” he said.
Seychelles previously had a tourist office in Madrid but streamlined its operations a few years ago, to operate through the main French tourist office in Paris. A total 2,599 visitors were recorded from Spain in 2009.