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Italians want a truer and more authentic Seychelles experience says the tourism trade from Italy

Italians want a truer and more authentic Seychelles experience says the tourism trade from Italy ( Tour operators from Italy this week had a chance to meet with the Seychelles Chief Executive Officer from the Seychelles Tourism Board who was on a working mission in Rome and Milan, respectively, to understand the challenges and opportunities of tourism partners there, as well as to share with them the new developments on the Seychelles islands. The interaction took place through door-to-door visits as well as an informal lunch in Rome and an informal dinner in Milan. The series of events were also attended by Bernadette Willemin, the Tourism Board's Director for Europe, and Monette Rose, the Tourism Board's Manager for Italy, as well as the Seychelles Tourism Boards' two marketing executives in Italy, Yasmine Pocetti and Alessandra Dell' Aira. Also present at the lunch and dinner, respectively, were local representatives from a number of international hotel chains and the travel trade media. The event in Milan was also attended by two of the Tourism Ambassadors in Italy.

Monette Rose, the Seychelles Tourism Board's Manager for Italy, was the first to address both the lunch function in Rome and dinner function in Milan, followed by Bernadette Willemin, the Seychelles Tourism Board's Director for Europe. Both of them thanked the Italian operators for their continued support for Seychelles and for having been a true Seychelles friend. “You did not abandon us when the market was not doing as well," said Mrs. Willemin, “You believed as much in us as the potential of the market for Seychelles."

Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said when she took the floor that Italy remained a very important market for Seychelles despite the decrease in visitor arrivals for the past few years. She said, “Italy has been, and remained, our third biggest source market, and we have all the reasons to keep on supporting this market. Our target is that we can at the very least this year stabilize this market and in the next few years grow the market back to what is used to be before." Both functions then continued with open discussions across the table on the various challenges and opportunities which existed for the market. The tour operators were also very interested in knowing the various development taking place in Seychelles.

One of the tour operators' greatest wish is for Seychelles to one day be able to establish back its direct flight with Italy. One tour operator in Rome said, “Italians miss their direct flight!" but still goes on in acknowledging that having Ethiopian Airlines back on the destination as well as the Etihad Alitalia code share agreement together with Emirates will help in providing more traveling choices to the Italian visitors. Additionally, one of their profound wishes is that Seychelles can start offering more authentic experiences for the Italians visiting Seychelles. “Anybody can buy a souvenir or a piece of jewelry from Seychelles," says a tour operator present at the lunch, “but the memory of an authentic true Seychelles experience will last a lifetime!"

On her side, Ms. Naiken reassured them that Seychelles realized the importance of offering an authentic holiday experience, and this message was further emphasized through the launch of the Seychelles brand where more than ever Seychelles was being marketed as more than just the sand, sea, and sun, but also through its people, culture, gastronomy, and the Seychellois unique way of life. With the increasing need to provide a more authentic Creole experience, Ms. Naiken has given a commitment to work even closer with the various actors in Seychelles to ensure that the wishes of its Italian visitors are fulfilled.

The Italian market started on a very promising note in 2015, and by the 5th week of the year, it has received 292 more passengers that the same period in 2014 which was a 32% increase.


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