WITH THE DESTINATION BECOMING PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE TO THE MIDDLE EASTERN MARKET, HOTELIERS, TRAVEL AGENTS AND TOURISM AUTHORITIES ARE FURTHER INVESTING TO ENHANCE ITS IMAGE WITH A RANGE OF FACILITIES REACHING OUT TO COUPLES.
Having long been synonymous with romance, exoticism and idyllic ambience, the 115-island archipelago welcomed 19,506 visitors from the Middle East and North Africa during the first half of the year, according to Seychelles Tourism Board.
The data identifies the UAE as the destination’s largest source market, with 14,053 arrivals between January and June, followed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with 2,147 and 1,229 tourists, respectively.
Underscoring the Arab region’s importance, Adrian Messerli, general manager, Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, revealed, “The Middle East remains one of our top markets and we have seen that demand is consistent year-on-year, which is supported by the great flight connections from Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Air Seychelles.”
Helen Gao, sales coordinator, Banyan Tree Seychelles, attributed part of the growth in arrivals from the Middle East to the convenient services offered between the region and the islands.
Contributing to this, while also explaining the reasons behind the penetration of the UAE market, Roy Kinnear, CEO, Air Seychelles, stated, “Currently Air Seychelles together with its partner airline Etihad Airways operate nonstop twice daily flights between the two destinations.
The flight schedule between Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles has been carefully timed to offer guests seamless connectivity to other destinations across the airline’s network including Mauritius, Madagascar and Johannesburg in less than three hours [...].”
Kinnear also highlighted that the Seychelles’ flag carrier offers a wide selection of special meals onboard upon request including Halal options, taking into account passengers’ dietary requirements.
A NEST FOR LOVE
Marking its increasing popularity among honeymooners, couples and newlyweds, the archipelago was declared as the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination during 2016’s World Travel Awards, beating 10 other nominees.
“Most of the guests are looking for tropical climate locations in total tranquillity and privacy away from big cities and this makes the Seychelles the perfect spot,” emphasised Siegfried Espitalier-Noel, chief marketing officer, Constance Hotels Resorts and Golf.
His words are also echoed by Rene-Pierre Alis, sales manager, Seychelles European Reservations, who stressed that the attractiveness of the destination for couples derives from the island’s paradisiac nature, which offers the ideal setting for weddings, honeymoons as well as anniversary celebrations.
Providing all the ingredients to make the special day perfect for couples, Four Seasons Hotel Seychelles has its own dedicated wedding specialist who is in contact with couples from the initial enquiry, until their departure from the property.
Assuring that the process is stress-free so that couples can concentrate on the finer details Messerli, said, “[…].
Adding to the beauty of the islands, a key consideration for a couple planning a wedding abroad is the legal process, which is something that is relatively quick and uncomplicated in the Seychelles.”