Seychelles penetration on the South American markets of Brazil and Argentina had set the marketing wheel going for the islands’ local Destination Management Companies (DMCs) to move to capture their fair share of the Brazilian tourism market. Brazil’s soaring financial power has increased outbound tourism from the South American nation, and tourism-dependent countries are now all working hard to entice Brazilian holiday makers to their shores. The ultimate symbol of the Brazilian extraordinary potential in travel growth has also incited Seychelles to put the right mechanisms into place as the country gets ready to welcome Brazilian visitors.
When the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture went to Brazil and Argentina to work with his counterparts and with the partner tour operators to unlock the potential of the markets for Seychelles, he brought on board David Germain, the Seychelles Tourism Board Director for Africa and the Americas, to evaluate the potential of the Brazilian market and to plan together how to build on the twin-center approach with South Africa in order to attract Brazilians to Seychelles after a first stop in Africa.
Just weeks following this official visit in Brazil, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Director for Africa and the Americas was in Seychelles to meet with the islands’ local tourism operators to generate their interest for the Seychelles move on the Brazilian market.
In trade meetings on Praslin and La Digue, organized jointly by Alain St.Ange, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, and the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, Mr. Germain announced that he had gained the support of all Seychelles DMCs to come on board to work together on the South American market.
Many of the Seychelles Destination Management Companies have now appointed Brazilian representations in Sao Paolo and Argentina to promote them, and they will be making their own move on Brazil to capture the market. Mr. Germain said air accessibility is the key factor that is opening Seychelles as a potential market for Brazil and the South American markets.
“The UN World Tourism Organization has confirmed that Brazil is the next big tourism market for the upcoming five to ten years. With a population of two hundred million, 50% are the working class, and they represent the segment of Brazilians’ spending power. Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline, and South African Airways are flying to the South American destinations. In 2013, Etihad Airways will fly to this destination giving additional boost of air accessibility,” David Germain said.
Seychelles is anticipating a growth in its honeymoon niche market segment from Brazil. According to the Seychelles Tourism Board Director for Africa and the Americas, “there’s an ever increasing trend of newlyweds to fly to exotic destinations for their honeymoon. The Brazilian honeymooners is a target market for Seychelles,” said David Germain.
Mr. Germain also took time to explain that the combination package of safari in South Africa, or a desert in Dubai, combined with a honeymoon or a romantic beach holiday in Seychelles is the perfect luxury-tailored holiday being proposed as the twin-center destination packages for South American market.
For the South African market, as of January 2013, the number of flights on the Seychelles-South Africa routes will increase from two to four weekly flights. The Seychelles Minister for Tourism said that this move will further boost the South African market potential.
“Doubling the number of seats to South Africa is a big gamble in one way, but it can be achieved if we all work together to open up new markets that will help to double the number of visitors from South Africa or traveling through South Africa. We need to give that support to make the four flights by Air Seychelles really work,” said Minister St.Ange, while chairing the tourism trade meetings on Praslin and La Digue islands.
“South Africa is Seychelles fifth most important tourism market. Over the last six years, the number of visitors from South Africa has increased tremendously, and the potential exists to grow it even further. Our offices have changed our marketing strategies to make the South African market even more viable for Seychelles now that we have increased air access capacity,” Mr. Germain said.
“Shifting the South African marketing strategy from solely giving support to tour operators selling Seychelles into a consumer base promotional activity was the most plausible scenario of moving forward. This will help increase the number of South African tourists coming to Seychelles. Most importantly, we have also opened the doors for local trade in Seychelles to come to South Africa to join the Tourism Board on sales calls and experience first-hand the interest that the Seychelles enjoys in the destination. We have also created a number of road shows in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. Every year for a couple of years now we have been traveling throughout the whole country working with our key tour operators in South Africa, and this is proving to have been a good strategy. The success of these road shows resulted in record years in the number of visitors arriving in Seychelles from South Africa. In 2010, Seychelles achieved more than ten thousand visitors from South Africa. Figures for September 2012 indicate that Seychelles has recorded an increase of +12 to +14% for the South African market. If we look at the size of the market as opposed to the other market, the figures speak for itself of the importance of this market for Seychelles. There’s a lot of money in South Africa. There’s a lot of wealth, and there is a lot of potential for more investments in promotion of the destination in South Africa,” David Germain added as he addressed the tourism trade meetings.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP).