The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, was interviewed by several high profile media organisations while attending the World Travel Market (WTM) in London. The 2017 WTM was held from November 6 to 8. Seychelles’ consistent tourism growth was one of the main focus during the interviews with TTG, Globetrotter TV, FIRST Magazine, fDi Magazine, Sky News and Euronews.
Mrs Francis spoke about the current trend when it comes to arrivals figures, where Seychelles is riding on an 18 percent year-on-year increase in visitors. She also mentioned new air connectivity, including the upcoming direct service from Heathrow to Seychelles by British Airways from March 2018, when highlighting efforts to attract more tourists to the island destination, while emphasizing the need to ensure sustainable tourism.
“For a few years now, we have been experiencing double-digit growth and will end this year on around 350,000 visitors,” Mrs Francis said. “That may seem modest, but we are an island nation of 90,000 people; we do not want huge numbers of tourists. It is about quality, not quantity,” she added.
Going further on this philosophy of ensuring sustainable tourism, her interview on Sky News focussed on how aside of balancing a surge of international visitors, the island nation is also actively working to improve the environment.
The country-wide ban on common plastic items such as carrier bags, plates, cups and cutlery that came into effect in Seychelles in July this year, was highlighted as one example of initiatives taken to protect the environment. To note that aside of causing pollution both on land and at sea, floating or broken-down pieces of plastic can be harmful to marine creatures and birds.
Linking tourism and the environment, the STB Chief Executive explained that with the Seychelles islands covering a total land mass of 455 km² scattered across an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.3 million square kilometres, a lot of the activities proposed to tourists are water-based, hence the need for such measures to be enforced by the government.
“A lot of activities tourists do when they come to Seychelles relates to water be it sailing, diving, snorkelling swimming … our marine environment is part of what we are selling in terms of the Seychelles experience, and if we do not take care this very marine environment that is giving us our bread and butter it is going to be destroyed, because we all know about the effects of plastic on the marine environment. If we can do our part to preserve the marine environment through these small steps the government is taking we are also preserving our tourism industry, we are making it sustainable for the future generation,” Mrs Francis said.
Aside of the STB Chief Executive the various media organizations also interviewed the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, who led the Seychelles delegation to this year’s WTM.