Seychelles was quick to make difficult decisions and gradual changes to deal with the dynamics brought about by the crisis.
The 10th Arab Aviation Summit (AAS), hosted in Ras Al Khaimah on March 15, 2023, under the theme ‘Impactful sustainability in modern-day travel and tourism’, featured a high-level panel discussion that was attended by Mrs Sherin Francis, the Principal Secretary for Tourism.
As the “voice of the industry,” the Arab Aviation Summit draws the largest gathering of Arab journalists and top executives from the aviation and tourism industries.
Speaking on behalf of the destination, the Principal Secretary for Tourism responded to an invitation from the official organisers to participate in a discussion on the theme “Best Travel Destination: Lessons Learned from a Fast-Changing Industry” alongside its Indian Ocean neighbour Mauritius, represented by Mr Vinash Gopee, Chairperson Board of the Tourism Authority of Mauritius, and Mr Gavin Eccles, Chief Executive Officer of Georgia Tourism.
Mrs Francis had the opportunity to speak on the panel about how the destination has maintained healthy growth despite the industry’s challenges over the last two years.
“As a small destination heavily dependent on the tourism industry, the pandemic was a big hurdle to jump. Seychelles was quick to make difficult decisions and gradual changes to deal with the dynamics brought about by the crisis. Looking back, our strategy was both risky and rewarding. Our recovery rate for 2022 over 2019 was already ahead of schedule, 89%, while the world average was at 65%. Achieving the target for 2023 will put us at about 94%,” said Mrs Francis.
During the event, she also showcased Seychelles as an avant-garde sustainable destination that has managed to maintain its focus on sustainable practices.
She stated that the pandemic provided the Seychelles tourism industry with the opportunity to rethink its priorities and assess the direction of tourism.
“A frequently asked question was how much more capacity we have to accommodate visitors without negatively impacting our social fabrics or the environment that supports our industry. We are pleased to see travel trends showing that visitors are becoming more conscious of their travel choices and the consequences. As a tourism destination, we are working to ensure that visitors offset their travel footprints while on vacation—we want them to become our ambassadors and talk about our causes when they return home,” she continued.