Seychelles beckons travellers

Seychelles ... an easy destination to sell.

An archipelago of 115 islands spread over more than one million sq km of azure Indian Ocean waters on the edge of African continent, Seychelles is beckoning Gulf travellers.

The Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority (STMA) has launched a major "targeted marketing" campaign from Dubai to lure UAE and Gulf visitors to discover the charms of the archipelago.

"The UAE and Gulf regions are of great interest to us. The diversity of the markets, with its unique mix of nationals, Arab, Western and Asian expatriates, makes it especially attractive area to promote Seychelles as a leisure destination," said STMA chief executive Francis Savy while launching the campaign in Dubai recently.

As part of the marketing campaign, STMA has appointed Dubai-based tourism and hospitality agency, Mohamed Al Geziry Consultancy, as its representative in the region.

Air Seychelles, the country's national carrier, will also begin twice-weekly flights between Dubai and Victoria, the country's capital, this month.

The launch of the campaign at a particularly difficult time for the international travel and tourism industry reflects the island nation's confidence in its ability to sell itself.

"Seychelles will an easy destination to sell and we intend to capitalise on its unique selling point," says a spokesperson for the Mohamed Al Geziry Consultancy.

"It is a holiday spot that does not entail long flying hours and its a mere four-and-a half hours trip from Dubai and one of the safest holiday location.

"It is also a place that has top class hotels, beautiful beaches, good golfing, fishing and diving and hence caters to various tastes."

The spokesperson said a full-fledged marketing plan was being put into effect by the consultancy, fully supported by DTMA featuring workshops, media and advertising, sponsorships, sales promotions and fam trips for the travel trade and Press.

"Our target market includes both locals and expatriates and the travel trade is designing holiday packages to suit both groups," said the agency.

"These special packages will also cover special interest groups such as, honeymooners, divers, golfers and fishing professionals."

According to STMA, which was set up in 1999 to promote Seychelles as a tourist destination, the country "represents a powerful antidote to the demands of everyday living".

It offers visitors immense diversity and variety, from sculptured granite boulders to coral reefs, from untouched forests and bird sanctuaries to private resorts and exotic hideaways.

An efficient network of inter-island boats, aeroplanes and helicopter transfers can accommodate almost any tailored schedule, it says.

Seychelles also has a reputation for social harmony and "an enlightened approach to conservation has ensured that almost half of the limited landmass has been set-aside as nature reserves."

"A year round temperate season and a healthy tropical climate places Seychelles in the fortunate position of being able to responsibly plan, control and limit the development of the tourism industry to ensure it will never impact negatively on the sustainability of our unique ecosystems," says the authority.

The country is implementing several new projects to further boost its image as a tourist destination including the establishment of world famous Banyan Tree Seaside Spa Retreat on the principal Mahe island.