Colourful coral reefs, clown and trumpet fish, sea turtles and much more can be discovered while snorkelling and diving in the pristine blue waters of Seychelles. The uniquely beautiful underwater world of Seychelles can equally be explored and experienced directly from the many great beaches that surround the archipelago nation.
For travelers and tourists dreaming of white, deserted sandy beaches, round granite rocks and turquoise blue water they are guaranteed to find what they are looking for in Seychelles. The beaches of Seychelles are uniquely beautiful and it could give the satisfaction that the traveler is on a desert island of their own.
Indeed, Seychelles is a haven for people seeking to enjoy the cool and calm waters of the Indian ocean and a warm sunny tropical weather off the African continent.
However, Seychelles is not only about sea, turquoise blue pristine waters, sandy and rocky beaches, and beautiful coral reefs below the waters, it is a place to get lost in the culture and essence of the 100,000 or so people on this beautiful island nation.
As 65 tourism trade and media partners from around the world hosted by Seychelles’ tourism board would find out, there is more to Seychelles than the sea and beaches. It is a nation of many cultures exuded through a warm and welcoming populace providing different experiences for the visitor.
This was emphasized by Sherin Francis, Principal Secretary of Tourism Seychelles when she led a team of officials from Tourism Seychelles to welcome the 65 guests to the archipelago nation for a three-day Mega Familiarization Trip.
“For those of you who have been here seven years, I know somebody who just told me seven years ago he was here, probably you did not get to experience this. But today, with, focus on product diversification, having more cultural experiences, we have also, encouraging our visitors to make time to discover more of the Seychellois culture,” she said.
“The gastronomy, arts, dance, crafts, artisan, all this today are on offer, and you are able to experience and immerse yourself in more cultural experiences, activities, entertainment in general.”
Highlighting on the range of accommodation offering, the Principal Secretary said, ‘’You would know we have a wide range of accommodation in Seychelles. We have beautiful resorts like this one, the Constance Ephelia, but we also have homegrown properties, self-catering apartments and guest said houses. We want them to provide exceptional services, we want their products to be of higher standards, so that they can attract better kinds of visitors that will benefit the whole destination at the end of the day.
She said the kind of visitors Seychelles is targeting to attract are those that would give high value, such as visitors who “will want to go out and discover, and go out and do an excursion, go to a hiking, experience a cultural product, living more than just, the waste that it would probably produce like we all do when we travel and also lower impact.’’
Dubbed the “Mega Familiarization Trip”, the inaugural hosting by the department responsible for tourism in Seychelles, Tourism Seychelles, invited these trade and media partners from over 15 markets from all six continents and hosted them from 29th November to 2nd December 2023.
The meticulously curated itinerary for the hosting was designed to enhance every moment of their journey across the 115-island archipelago nation. This includes a three-night stay at the 5-star Constance Ephelia Resort, experience on Silhouette Island by Hilton Labriz, rum tasting, snorkeling, fishing, boat rides, sundowners, heritage experience at Mission Lodge, city tour of Victoria, market experience at Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, lunch experience at Marie Antoinette and a special Creole Rendezvous night at Cap Lazare Nature Reserve.
“The primary goal of this marketing endeavour is to provide travel agencies with firsthand experiences and comprehensive information about our destination, enabling them to more effectively market and promote it to their clients,” said Bernadette Willemin, Director General of Destination Marketing at Tourism Seychelles.
She added at the official welcome event at the Cyann Restaurant at the Constance Ephelia Resort at Mahe that “this familiarization trip is intended to showcase aspects of intellectual discoveries, cultural discoveries, which our destination has to offer. It is not just a trip. It is an immersive experience designed to deepen your understanding of our unique offerings.”
Tourism Seychelles spared no expense to give its guests the most wonderful experience as it hosted them to some of the best things the nation has on offer from accommodation, to tour packages, gastronomy, drinks and beverages and local Seychellois cultural experiences. Thus, while it provided an opportunity for networking by the guests, the Fam Trip also showcased the breathtaking beauty and sleuth attractions that Seychelles has to offer those who wish to visit.
Mega Fam Trip hosting got substantial backing from local partners, such as Constance Hotels & Resorts, Constance Ephelia Resorts, Hilton Seychelles, and Laïla, Seychelles, Creole Travel Services, Masons Travels, 7 Degree South, Summer Rain Tours among others.
These concerted efforts to build partnerships with travel agencies and media outlets within and outside reflects Seychelles’ comprehensive approach to destination marketing. The success of this hosting and other initiatives would help Seychelles’ ambition to position itself prominently among the world’s premier island destinations aiming at attracting high value visitors to boost their tourism drive.
Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It's home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé, a hub for visiting the other islands, it is home to capital Victoria. It also has the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and beaches, including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka.
Tourism is the topmost contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
According to the World Bank, Seychelles has a population of 107,000 inhabitants, three-quarters of whom live on the main island of Mahé and it has the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Africa, at $ 15.8 billion (2022). Its economy is highly dependent on tourism and fisheries.
The Mega Fam Trip had representatives selected from 46 travel agencies and 19 press partners across the world. The participants came from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, the Americas, the Middle East, China, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, and countries from the Indian Ocean, and Africa.
The writer is media professional with over two decades of experience in arts, tourism and travel writing and the executive producer and host of Africa Rising, a podcast on travel and tourism in Africa.