- Still restructuring its tourism-dependent economy, Seychelles has found that nearby South Africa could become among its largest markets. South Africans show great interest in the destination and can afford it.
The Seychellois delegation that represented the country at the INDABA tourism trade fair in Durban, South Africa, was among the greatest. Returning home this week, it reported that Seychelles was "set to benefit from increased visitor arrival numbers from Southern Africa and the Americas."
David Germain, the Seychelles' Director for Africa and the Americas, who was responsible for organising Seychelles' participation at INDABA, said that during this year's fair, the renewed interest for Seychelles in this market was very evident. "The interest is so strong and we are now working to turn this into bookings," he said.
Alain St Ange, the director of tourism marketing, who headed the delegation to South Africa, said upon his return that the Seychelles Tourism Board's meetings had gone "extremely well" and he remained optimistic that visitor arrival numbers from South Africa would continue to grow, and grow at a faster pace than before.
"Tour operators are confident that Seychelles is now the new destination for the South African travellers, and we have to be ready to work to consolidate that newly found status, and this will be achieved if we all stay focus on the big picture which is our tourism industry," he said.
Seychelles was also given special mention during the Press and Tour Operators Function organised by Cape Town Tourism. The Seychelles Tourism Board was referred to as being the partner of Cape Town Tourism when Western Cape Minister Alan Winde delivered his address and spoke about the existing cooperation deal that exists between the Seychelles and Cape Town destinations.
South Africa since apartheid has been the economic motor of the region, and with larger population groups now entering the middle class, South Africans are becoming an interesting market for tourism destinations in Southern and Eastern Africa.
With a shorter distance to Seychelles than Europeans and Americans, South Africans find it cheaper to fly to the Indian Ocean archipelago, which mostly is seen as an expensive top-end destination.
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