The mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles had focused its tourism marketing dollars on its primary tourist markets, mainly in Europe. But this is now changing, and so as not to put all its eggs in the same basket, the country is tapping into new, emerging markets that have potential for growth.
Such an example is India, China, the Far East, the Americas, the Middle East, and the GCC countries. Seychelles was recently in India, which has one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world. Mumbai and New Delhi together account for 47% of international passenger traffic, which is why the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) opted to be at the Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) Mumbai and Delhi fairs recently.
Its delegation was led by Amia Jovanovic-Desir and Cliff Estico. The local trade also supported this market penetration initiative in India and was represented by Doris Coopoosamy from 7 Degrees South, Noella Gappy from Mason’s Travel, and Shamita Palit from Select Seychelles.
Desroches Island Resort was the only hotel who joined the push for the Indian Market, and they were represented by Renee Leslie and Amanda Lang. The representatives of Air Seychelles from both the Mumbai and Delhi offices were also present at the fairs and the workshops.
The Seychelles stand attracted many trade and consumer visitors, and feedback showed there is a lack of destination knowledge in this market. The Indian trade was eager for information to feed its clients.
The wedding and honeymoon niches would work very well for this market, judging from the interest, and Seychelles also has what Indians look for when catering to unique meetings and incentive groups.
The STB also led a workshop targeting travel agents and tour operators in both cities. The turnout from Mumbai for both the fair and workshop was very good, with over 80 agents taking part, though the Delhi show did not draw such a crowd due to other events taking place at the same time.
Some of the partners said they wanted to be updated on what Seychelles has to offer and asked for familiarization trips to boost their knowledge of the different tourism products and services.
The Seychelles Tourism Board said it will keep up visibility in this market through workshops and trade visits, and hopes that with more air links to serve the Mumbai and Delhi sectors, it can gain a good market share.
“The seed has been sown, and we are going to remain active in India, because the potential is too great, and there is big demand for destinations like Seychelles,” said Ms. Jovanovic-Desir.
She added that tour operators have expressed a wish to see more seats out of Mumbai and Delhi “so we need to position Seychelles in all key cities in India and make that market work for us.”
The delegation’s trip to India was supported by Seychelles’ Honorary Consul in Mumbai Shiv Gorowa and by the island’s High Commissioner in Delhi, Mr. Dick Esparon.
Seychelles’ first visit to these trade shows made an immediate impact, as the country won the Awards for Excellence for best print promotional material in Delhi and most promising new destination in Mumbai.