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Seychelles looks forward to an increase in visitor numbers from the Middle East

Seychelles has been hailed as one of the world`s most unspoiled tropical destinations and after a significant increase in…

Seychelles has been hailed as one of the world`s most unspoiled tropical destinations and after a significant increase in tourist arrivals in 2002, despite prevailing international conditions, looks forward to an even more successful year in 2003. A total of 132,246 visitors arrived in the country last year and the Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority (STMA) aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals to reach 180,000 in the next five years.

The Seychelles stand at the Arabian Travel Market which is being held at the Dubai Airport Expo from 06 May to 09 May 2003, highlights the various unique selling points of this island nation. Seychelles has adopted a far-sighted policy of developing tourism with an ecological thrust – over half of the country`s limited landmass has been set aside as protected nature reserves and top priority is given to ensuring sustainability through the protection of the environment.

At a press conference held in Dubai, key representatives of the Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority revealed the latest initiatives and new developments in the Seychelles.

The Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority (STMA) is working towards increasing the popularity of the island nation as a preferred destination among international travellers. The Middle East is one of our key emerging markets and the current global situation makes Seychelles the ideal destination for anyone looking for a perfect holiday. With its year round pleasant tropical climate, high levels of personal safety, ease of entry regulations and short travel time from Dubai, Seychelles is a logical choice for discerning travellers, said Francis Savy, Chief Executive Officer, STMA.

In Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 remote islands 1,600 km off the east coast of Africa, the main tourism product is based on the attractions of its natural and pristine environment. There are already a number of sites that have developed very specific eco-tourism attractions including the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites of the Vallee de Mai and Aldabra, and the nature reserves of Curieuse, Aride and Cousin Island.

Seychelles latest project to combine tourism with conservation is the exclusive North Island Resort, a luxurious 5 star property due to welcome its first guests by mid-2003. Set along the eastern side of this `Robinson Crusoe` island, the 11 guest villas are the perfect hide-away for those seeking total privacy. Created around the ethos of turning the environmental clock back 200 years, the lodge is built like a real `Noah`s Ark` and provides a perfect sanctuary for both natural habitats and critically endangered species. Whether bird-watching with the resident ecologist or snorkelling amongst the surrounding corals, such an atmosphere ensures that guests are perfectly placed to play a key role in this significant Seychelles conservation project.

Adding to the accolades that the island has already received, the producers of the new film version of the cult 60`s British television series `Thunderbirds` searched around the globe for a perfect island to match the description of the famous `Tracy Island` before finally choosing North Island in Seychelles. Tracy Island is the most idyllic island imaginable, with crystal clear waters, tropical jungle and mountainous peaks. It is fantastic that we have found all these essential elements in Seychelles, revealed Film Producer, Mark Huffam. He and the Director, Jonathan Frakes, have described Seychelles as Paradise – and a perfect backdrop for the well-known Tracy family`s exploits in the forthcoming film. The film will portray Tracy Island as the ultimate tropical Paradise, with impressive jungle and perfect beaches – all offered by Seychelles in one simple package. `Thunderbirds` the movie will be released next year.

Summer 2003 will also see the re-opening of the Desroches Island Lodge following extensive renovations. This beautiful resort is on a paradise island situated in the outer coral islands of Seychelles, 30 minutes flight from Mahe. The resort will offer luxury accommodation with top quality service in an idyllic island setting. The 20 beachfront cottages have a spacious 52sqm interior, as well as a large private terrace overlooking lush tropical gardens and a spectacular ocean view; they are designed in a simple easy decor, utilising natural products and creating a tropical and romantic ambience.

In an effort to promote the Seychelles to specialised niche markets STMA arranged for Forth International, a television and multimedia production company based in Dubai, to film a number of aspects of the Seychelles, including a feature on Alphonse Island, one of the archipelago`s outer islands, emphasising the spectacular opportunities it offers for both salt-water fly fishing and deep sea fishing. This will be released for regional transmission after ATM.

Seychelles is now even more accessible to the Middle Eastern market, The new Emirates Holidays `A World of Choice` Brochure 2003/4 features Seychelles as one of its destinations for the first time. Mohamed Al GeziryHanns, Director of the Seychelles Tourism Office, Dubai explained. STMA are delighted that the destination has been included in the brochure and are sure that this will increase the amount of interest in Seychelles throughout the region, making it easier for agents and passengers to book a holiday of a lifetime to this tropical paradise.

This year will also see the graduation of the region`s first batch of Seychelles Smart Specialists. This innovative tour operator and travel agent certification programme is designed to stimulate interest and generate greater awareness in the Seychelles. Fifty of the U.A.E.`s top leisure travel professionals are currently working their way through the four self-study modules that make up the course, thus ensuring that an expert on Seychelles is always close at hand to provide the right information and assistance to potential travellers. The programme will be expanded to cover the rest of the Middle East towards the end of the year, said Jenni Harris-Beggs, Director of Marketing Operations, STMA.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.