The 161,273 tourist arrivals record set in 2007 was broken yesterday when a French man became the 161,274th visitor to disembark in Seychelles this year.
This brought the Seychelles Tourism Board’s (STB) target of over 170,000 for 2010 well within sight.
It will represent an approximate 10% growth on the 2009 figure of 157,541.
The French tourist – Thierry Olivier – arrived on the HM 007/AF952 flight from Paris together with his partner, Marjorie. They have planned an eight-day break in tropical Seychelles away from the freezing weather of Paris.
The couple were treated to a special welcome upon arrival at the Seychelles International Airport, where they were met by the chairman of STB, Barry Faure, and other staff of the organization.
They were presented with a bag of souvenirs and books on Seychelles, as well as a flower garland for the record breaker. As part of their achievement, they also received fast-track service and VIP treatment.
The couple – who are staying at Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove – said they were looking forward to their holiday as it is also their first time in Seychelles.
“I am very honored to be your record-breaking visitor and also happy to know that you will now have a new record this year,” said Thierry, who works in the audit field and comes from Strasbourg.
When asked why he chose Seychelles for his holiday, he answered, “It is this paradise destination, which we had wanted to visit for a long time.” He also noted that since it is currently very cold in France, it felt very good to be in Seychelles.
They were both very impressed with the natural beauty and greenery of Seychelles and said they couldn’t have chosen a better destination for their holiday.
Thierry and Marjorie are direct clients, and they intend to also visit other islands such as Praslin and La Digue during their stay here.
Speaking about this milestone, Mr. Faure said it was now clear that Seychelles will achieve the highest number of visitors to disembark on our islands ever, and a new record is now in sight come end of December.
“We have three more weeks to go and considering forward bookings until end of December, we are heading for a 10% growth on the figure of last year. This would mean over 170,000 visitors for this year,” he said.
Mr. Faure added, 2010 has been a very good year for tourism where different partners have played their roles to ensure this major milestone in Seychelles.
“The new government and private sector partnership has played a great role in getting more people to work together and to achieve positive results such as this one that we are marking today,” he said.
“The tourist traffic towards Seychelles has picked up during this year, and we have also stepped up our marketing in all markets to ensure that arrival numbers are on the increase. Most of our key source markets are performing well, and we continue to work to attract a greater market share of business from those traditional markets whilst also tapping into new ones where we can see the potential,” he concluded
STB has been monitoring the arrival figures in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics.