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Seychelles Global Destinations Sept Oct 2013
 

Seychelles Global Destinations Sept Oct 2013

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Seychelles Cover Story with Interview of H.E. Alain St. Ange covered by Global Destinations, one of Asias leading travel publications

Seychelles Cover Story with Interview of H.E. Alain St. Ange covered by Global Destinations, one of Asias leading travel publications

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    Seychelles Global Destinations Sept Oct 2013 Seychelles Global Destinations Sept Oct 2013 Document Transcript

    • Cover Story Seychelles: The top rated beach in the world Seychelles was recently rated the number one beach among the top 100 beaches of the world K nown as one of the world’s most romantic destination Seychelles is a star appeal for honeymooners and celebrities in search of peace, tranquility, and breathtaking seascapes not to mention the powder-white sandy beaches, lapped with dazzling turquoise blue waters. Throughout the islands one can find unparalleled opportunities for sailing on bare-boat or skippered yacht, deep-sea and fly-fishing as well as a broad diversity of dive experiences. Seychelles is a truly beautiful country with lovely and kind people. This I found out when I had visited the country last year. This Indian Ocean republic occupies a land area of 455 km² and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million km². It represents an archipelago of timeless beauty, tranquility and harmony that is famous for its fascinating beaches and for its great diversity which rolls from lush forests down to the warm azure ocean. Seychelles' 115 islands fall under two distinct groups. The tall granite, Inner Islands cluster mainly within the relatively shallow Seychelles' plateau, 4° south of the equator and roughly 1800 km. distant from the east coast of Africa while the low-lying coralline cays, atolls and reef islands of the Outer Islands lie mainly beyond the plateau up to 10° south of the equator. Of these 115 islands, 41 Inner Islands constitute the oldest midoceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the 5 groups of low-lying coral atolls and reef islets that are the Outer Islands. These Outer Islands are divided into five groups: the Amirantes group lying 230km distant from Mahé, the Southern Global Destinations Coral Group, Alphonse Group, Farquhar Group and finally the Aldabra Group, some 1150km from Mahé. There are 43 Inner Islands in all -- 41 granitic and 2 coralline. The Inner Islands which are mostly granitic, cluster mainly around the principal islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, forming the cultural and economic hub of Seychelles, as well as the centre of its tourism industry. Together they are home to the majority of Seychelles’ accommodation facilities as well almost the entire population of the archipelago. Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on earth. With almost 50% of its limited landmass set aside as national parks and reserves, Seychelles prides itself on its record for far sighted conservation policies that have resulted in an enviable degree of protection for the environment and the varied ecosystems it supports. Nowhere else on earth will you find unique endemic specimens such as the fabulous Coco-de-mer, the largest seed in the world, the jellyfish tree, with only eight surviving examples, the Seychelles’ paradise flycatcher and Seychelles warbler. Seychelles is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin and fabled Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century A.D. When in Seychelles there’s a lot to do. A major reason for tourists to visit is to relax and for that there are stunning beaches – quite a few of them are untouched and are refreshingly 6 Sep - Oct 2013
    • Cover Story uncrowded. One can also walk along the coastline enjoying the fresh air and sound of waves. You will also be rewarded by the breath-taking scenery. A word of caution - not all beaches are suitable for swimming due to the seasonal winds. Seychelles is also a perfect place for the water sports as one can explore the islands on a yacht, power boat, catamaran or sailboat. Scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and windsurfing are also extremely popular. Indians probably may prefer glass bottom boat tours to view the ocean. Biking is quite popular. Bike rentals and walking tours are great ways to sightsee and since distances are relatively short and the scenery is beautiful, walking is probably the best way to see the smaller islands (La Digue, Praslin). On Mahe it is not advised to ride bicycles. Bird watching is also popular and the islands are home to many of the worlds most treasured and rare species of animals. The best place to do so is Cousin Island which although only 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, is home to more than 300,000 birds, but many unique species can be found at ease on Mahe. Seychelles also has numerous markets, art galleries and shops, colonial Creole-style plantation houses, and the main island of Mahé has six museums, a botanical garden, and several national monuments. The islands are predominantly Roman Catholic with an ethnic mix every bit as diverse as the makeup of its islands. So you have numerous cathedrals, a Hindu temple and a mosque. Sights in Victoria include the clock tower, old courthouse, natural history museum, Victoria market, botanical gardens, Anglican Church. Not to be missed are the two UNESCO sites. Vallee de Mai is a national park and home to amazing flora and fauna, including the world's largest seed: the coco de mer. Aldabra Atoll, the world's largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to Cover Story west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays can also often be seen here. Apart from this Seychelles offers a naturally romantic backdrop for weddings and honeymoons as well as being an enticing destination for select incentive groups and the elite of the business world. Offering amazing walks & trails, golf and memorable spa & wellness holidays, never before has the discerning tourist seeking tranquility been offered such a diverse choice of experiences in one destination. Accommodation The Seychelles are not tolerant of backpackers turning up at the airport without accommodation booked. So do try to get your accommodation booked in advance. Accommodations in Seychelles are relatively expensive and some islands have only one hotel and can vary from €1500 to €100 per night. The islands also enjoy a rich variety of affordable hotels and guesthouses with the charms and rhythms of an authentic island lifestyle. If you are on a tight budget renting an apartment or bungalow would be a good option. It is possible to find accommodation of a double room for two persons starting at €65. At this cost you will not have many luxuries. Peak seasons from December to January and July to August can see a jump in hotel prices and sometimes finding the right accommodation can be difficult. A realistic budget will be around €120 per person per day which includes a moderately priced hotel, food at a few good restaurants and sightseeing. Island hopping and and other activities make increase the cost substantially. Islands with accommodation are very few – Mahé, Praslin, La Digue, Bird Island, Cerf, Chauve Souris, Cousine, Denis Island, Frégate, North Island, Round Island (Praslin), Silhouette and Ste. Anne. Some of the popular hotels are - Constance Epheila Mahe, Constance Lemuria Praslin, Maia, Banyan Tree, Four seasons, Kempinski, Le Meridien Fisherman's Cove, Coral beach, Sunset beach hotel, Hilton Northolme, Labriz, Sainte Anne Comber beach, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay, L'archipel, La Reserve, Raffles etc. The unit of currency is the Seychelles rupee (Rs), but the popular foreign currency is euros - prices for services are mostly quoted in euros. There are ATMs, which accept major international cards, at the airport and at all the major banks in Victoria. Thanks to an extensive bus service operating throughout Mahé one need not rent a car. There is a flat rate of Rs 5 to go from any place in the city. Praslin also boasts an efficient bus service.
    • Cover Story “Seychelles operates a No VISA Policy. We say that we are friends of all and enemy of none and as friends everyone can visit us and no one requires a visa to do so” Despite all the challenges the tourism industry is facing globally not to forget the economic crisis Seychelles Tourism has been growing substantially and is faring better than what had been budgeted.. As per data obtained from Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics, year 2013 saw a 14 per cent increase over 2012 figures. Seychelles has maintained a good level of visibility in all markets due to its strong links with international travel press organisations and ensuring adequate media coverage for major events organised in the country. This has been mainly due to a dynamic Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture H.E. Alain St. Ange. In an exclusive Interview with Chandragupta Amritkar, Editor, Global Destinations, H.E. Alain St. Ange went on to elaborate on the success story, India day and future plans. Excerpts Your Excellency what was the main idea behind creating an India Day and will it be an annual affair? The main idea behind creating a celebration in Seychelles called the Seychelles - India Day is to give the due recognition for our country's historical link with India and to ensure that our local Indian Population are duly recognised for the part they have played since the beginning to make Seychelles what it is today. Seychelles has five main historical line that makes our Creole Seychellois People the diverse people we are. These are France, Africa, the UK, India and China. For years we have celebrated our link with France through the La Francophonie Day, with Africa through Africa Day celebrations, the UK through the Commonwealth Day celebrations but we did not for one reason or another mark an India Day celebration nor did we mark a China Day celebration. This will now change as this October we shall have the first Seychelles-India Celebrations and early next year our first Seychelles-China Day celebrations. Our history with India is to intertwined for us not to be marking an India Day celebrations and I need to say thank you to the High Commissioner of India for his support to have helped make this celebration a reality for Seychelles. tor partners in the four corners of the world to take us seriously as a tourism destination. This was a bit easier for me as I came from the private sector and was known by the large majority of our Tour Operator partners, but to move forward I needed to work in unity with the island's private sector. My success depended on their success as a business community. We discussed together, we planned and strategised together and we panned out new revamped Marketing Plans for Seychelles. We they moved to bring out a Tourism Master Plan as our industry was turning 40 since it was launched in earnest in 1971 with the arrival of the first BOAC VC 10 plane from the UK. This we did after a lot of consulting from the bottom up. It was not going to be a Government dictated document but one where all the interested parties could and would see their concerns raised and their expectations referred to. At the same time it was important for me to get Seychelles to stand behind me if we wanted to see our tourism industry consolidated for the longer term. For this to happen we needed to get more of our Seychellois involved in the industry that remains the pillar of their economy. This is when our President, Mr James Michel coined the 'Seychelles Brand of Tourism' as our style to guide our way forward and this was a first statement after 40 years of tourism which said that Seychelles needed to claim back its tourism industry if we wanted to see our industry consolidated. This has helped to get everyone to not only support our tourism industry, but it also saw everyone defending the Seychelles tourism industry. It was a fine line of saying we wanted more foreign investors and at the same time convincing other Government Departments to see Seychellois Investments as a must for the wellbeing of our country's tourism industry. We could not, as a country, see a them and us approach and our people needed to be seen in our industry, they needed to be respected as investors in their own right and they ended to be encouraged to join the indus- You are considered the main driver behind the fast growth of the country’s tourism sector (having substantially boosted visitor arrival numbers). How did you go about achieving it and any tips for tourism Ministers and tourism secretaries from other countries/states? When I was given the mandate to re-launch our country's tourism industry my first mission was to get all our Tour Opera- Global Destinations 10 Sep - Oct 2013
    • Cover Story try. My only message for all my colleague Ministers of Tourism is to work with their respective population first and to have faith in their private sector as they remain the motor behind their very own tourism industry. For Seychelles we then needed to remain relevant as a tourism destination and for this we need to always be innovative and to be visible at all times in all our target markets. This was one of our biggest challenges, but today we say that we have fared well because as is said the proof of the pudding is in the sting and our tourism industry has but grown since we moved to re-launch our industry. in Seychelles the range of accommodation network we needed and wanted. From 6 and 7 star one island one hotel concept, to boutique small establishments, to the small home grown properties offering the best in Creole welcome, atmosphere, culture and cuisine, to International Hotel chains, to the best in International branded resorts and to floating bed on cursers and live aboard. Everything is here, and we are proud of what our islands have on offer. When you compare the GDP to tourism, how important is tourism to Seychelles? Tourism for Seychelles is referred to as the pillar of our economy. This is how important it is and is set to remain. The importance of tourism was highlighted with President James Michel introduced a stand alone Ministry for Tourism after years of it having been a portfolio in the Vice President's Office before becoming attached to the President's Office itself. Tourism is today a body that is consulted for decisions that have an effect directly or indirectly on what Seychelles is and how it will be seen by our visitors. MICE is a hot topic. How many hotels are suitable for MICE? Which is the biggest convention center? Seychelles values the MICE and Incentive Market and goes after that market with vigour. We participate in the dedicated MICE Trade Fairs and we are active in Incentive Market workshops because we are today well equipped for this niche or segment of tourism. We have a number of conference rooms with the biggest one ready to accommodate 620 pax for a conference. Most of our larger International Branded Resorts remain suitable for that market. Seychelles is also well suited for pre and post conferencing tours because of the diversity of mid-ocean islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago. How’s the infrastructure when it comes to hotels and accommodation in Seychelles? Seychelles has always been known as a five star tourism destination and today this natural beauty is matched with a range of top notch resorts. Seychelles has all the best and most respected brand of resorts and hotels. We went out as a country to attract these International Brands because we knew they would raise our level and we knew that they would drive our Home Grown smaller units to raise their very own standards. This we knew would only work in the best interest of our industry and today we have Global Destinations What is the potential for Wellness Tourism? Wellness Tourism or Spa holidays are today being called for by each and every tourism destination. Some destinations are more suited than others for such a special holiday. Seychelles lends itself well because our well preserved natural environment brings the setting required for wellness centres and world class Spas. The potential is big and this is one reason we now have an annual Wellness Festival in Seychelles. This we do to spread the word 12 Sep - Oct 2013
    • Cover Story that we are ready for the discerning travellers looking for this special holiday. What is the current situation for long-haul flights to the Seychelles? Seychelles is accessible to the world as never before. We have some 12 / 13 weekly flights by Emirates offering First, Business and Economy seats to Seychelles from virtually anywhere in the world. The same can be said for Etihad and their partner airline Air Seychelles. They operate close to 14 weekly flights to Sey- chelles. Condor offers a non-stop direct flight from Frankfurt Germany to seychelles once a week, Kenya Airways as a Sky Team Member offers 3 / 4 weekly flights from Nairobi Kenya and Ethiopian Airlines flies to Seychelles from Addis Ababa three times a week. From October Sri Lankan Airlines is starting three weekly flights to Seychelles from Colombo. Do we have enough flights no, and this will never be a statement I can make, because as mid-ocean islands we need to continue looking at the best and most direct flight for our would be visitors from their destination on days they want and at prices they feel acceptable. We do not own the money that sits in the wallets of our potential visitors, they own their money and we need to continue to entice them by offering what they want and expect. Promotion of Heritage is vital for the success of any country. What steps are you taking for this especially UNESCO’s World Heritage sites? Seychelles is conscious that we cannot consolidate our tourism industry without showcasing our culture and our heritage. This is more so because we are proud of what we are and what we have to offer to our visitors in that field of culture and heritage. Seychelles today has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (The Vallee de Mai Coco de Mer reserve on Praslin Island and the Aldabra Atoll) and we are finalising the needed documentation to seek recognition of our island's only slave ruins. The Venn's Town Mission Lodge where freed young slaves were housed after being brought to Seychelles has so much historical value and we are hoping that the UNESCO will see merit to have this property listed and preserved as we preserve and care for the two sites we already have in Seychelles . We have to keep telling the world we have these sites in Seychelles which we preserve and protect as good custodians. Sep - Oct 2013 You are the creator of Carnaval Internationale de Victoria (The Carnival of Carnivals). What was the aim and how successful has it been? When I was mandated to create an International Carnival in Seychelles for the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands and for the Region as a whole we saw the opening for a unique event that would be seen as the carnival of carnivals. We wanted to create a carnival where all the best and most known carnivals would parade side by side and followed by Cultural Troupes from the Community of Nations. The bench mark was raised high because we wanted to offer to the world a platform where they could showcase their culture, their country's unique selling points and their people as they flew they National Flag to the world press. We wanted to create a carnival that could be seen as a tourism trade fair for showcasing countries and helping them to remain relevant as tourism destinations in their own right. After three editions we can say that we have not only managed to stage such an event, but that we have staged a very successful carnival of carnivals. The Press Fraternity continues to descend on Seychelles in larger numbers because of the uniqueness of the event and the diversity it showcases. What’s your commitment to green and eco standards? Seychelles is one country that believes in the protection of its environment and as such must be a believer in green and eco standards in its tourism development. Two years ago we launched our very own Sustainable Label for the Tourism Industry and continue to encourage tourism operators to buy into this scheme for the long term benefit of our islands. Seychelles today has declared over 50% of its total land area to protected national parks. To move forward our Ministry will continue to work with the private sector because we are all after the preservation of the uniqueness that makes Seychelles stand tall in the world of tourism. I was fortunate to be present when you were elected as President of Vanilla Island of the Indian Ocean. You have been re-elected for a second term. What did you achieve over your tenure and what are your plans ahead? The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organisation is the grouping of the six islands - Seychelles, Mauritius, La Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros and Mayotte. We decided to group our- 13 Global Destinations
    • Cover Story selves beyond politics and its complexities to promote our region as a tourism region in its own right. The firm mission when I was elected was to turn the club like group into a formal Regional Organisation. Then we had to get the Organisation known and increase its visibility. This we have achieved as the Vanilla Islands are today known as a tourism region. The plans for the future is to find the necessary funds to move the organisation forward and to bring into our grouping the other islands of the Indian Ocean who also believe in tourism as the industry for economic growth and for creating jobs for their respective islanders. The strong points of each island must be pulled together to make the region stronger for the benefit of all the islands of the Indian Ocean. Seychelles and India. Now with Sri Lankan Airlines doing a direct non stop flight from Colombo in Sri Lanka and the Seychelles the opportunity is finally arrived for Seychelles to move into India to claim its share of that important market. We are now moving to have representation in India for our Tourism Board and we know that we shall be discovered as the new holiday destination for Indian Holiday makers. How do you plan to position Seychelles as a leading tourism destination? Seychelles is a leading tourism destination not by the way we will position it, but because it is the tourism destination with a difference. It is small and quaint, it is clean and inhabited by but a small population, it is a destination that has a small but important local Indian Population, it is disease free and it is safe, it is a destination that remains but some five hours flight time from India, it is a destination that welcomes Indian Passport Holders without any VISA. Is that not enough to be seen and appreciated as the new destination for the Indian travellers? There was a lot of talk regarding a single visa. What’s the status? We are looking at the best approach to tackle this thorny issue. Seychelles operates a No VISA Policy. We say that we are friends You have strong links with international travel press organizations and deal with all the top travel publications. How do you manage this? Seychelles has nothing to hide as a country. As the Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture I work with an open door to the press. I respect the press and value their friendship. The press can make a destination or break it. We continue to invite the press to visit our small country to discover what continues to attract the Who's who in the world to spend their holidays or even their honeymoon in Seychelles. I meet the press on every trip I do and I continue to call press conferences everywhere I go because I believe I need the press to always be well informed and updated on our Seychelles. What are the key priorities for the next five years? The next five years is a time of consolidation and for implementing what we have tabled in the Tourism Master Plan. This is important because this is what Seychelles wants and needs. Everyone involved in the tourism industry of Seychelles was involved in the drafting of this Master Plan and we owe it to Seychelles to implement it to ensure we continue to grow our tourism industry for generations to come. of all and enemy of none and as friends everyone can visit us and no one requires a visa to do so. Coming to the India, How do you plan to attract the Indian community? We are looking at India as our next important target market. We want to move in to have our fair share of that market and we know that we are the new destination for Indian Holiday makers. We had big challenges because of no direct flights linking Global Destinations 14 Sep - Oct 2013
    • Cover Story T First India day in Seychelles hough diplomatic ties between India and Seychelles have existed since Seychelles gained independence in 1976 but giving a boost to the bilateral relations will be the first SeychellesIndia Day that is scheduled from 4th - 6th October 2013. The Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture is planning to attract more visitors to their country. One of the major steps taken to increase visibility of Seychelles in India and thus increase visitor arrival numbers to Seychelles is to establish the first Seychelles-India Day. Under the aegis of the dynamic Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture H.E. Alain St. Ange the first SeychellesIndia Day will be held from 4th - 6th October 2013. The event is being held in close collaboration between Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Indian High Commission. “Together with the Indian High Commissioner we are happy to announce the Seychelles first India day celebrations. Seychelles celebrates through Commonwealth Day its ties with Britain. It’s French heritage is celebrated through La Francophonie Day, and its ancestral bond with Africa is celebrated through FetAfrik annually on Africa Day. Who we are today is also annually celebrated through our Kreol Festival, but our historical ties with India and China remained the two missing elements on our calendar of events.” said H.E. Alain St.Ange. H.E. St.Ange further added that the first Indian day celebrations in Seychelles, which will take place in the heart of Victoria, will do justice to the multi-ethnic diversity of Seychelles as it bridges Seychelles cultural bond with India. “The flair of India will showcase Victoria, the Creole Capital of the World to an event of food, personalities and through the rich culture of India. For three days the event will bring the best talents within the community to highlight a fusion of Bollywood movies and stars in captivating performance enthralling people of all ages. An Indian exposition tracing the first Indian settlers in Seychelles until present day will also be on the program.’’ highlighted H.E. St.Ange. “This event will offer a place for the people of Seychelles to embrace India’s diversity of culture and for people to connect together’’ said H.E. Thanglura Darlong, Indian High Commissioner. The sponsoring of the event according to the Indian High Commissioner and the Minister for Tourism and Culture will be secured among the local business community who are already committing themselves to this particular event. H.E. Alain St.Ange said that he has also brought the event up in discussions with the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to seek support through their avenues of cooperation with India. “A strong involvement of local and Indian businesses in the sponsoring of the event is crucial for its success. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has agreed in principle to work with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Indian High CommisGlobal Destinations sion in making this festival a success. It is important that the business community comes out as a block in bringing a new taste in the list of events in Seychelles’’ outlined H.E. St.Ange. The event has already participation from top celebrities and performers primarily from the world of Bollywood of India. “I am very much encouraged and I am enthusiastic about the efforts put into the organisation of the first Seychelles-India Day. We’ve have now set up subcommittees for fund raising, for the exhibition and for the organisation part of the celebrations,” said H.E. Thanglura Darlong. The Seychelles-India Day Celebrations will kick off with on Friday 4th October with an official opening ceremony in Victoria. Activities will continue during the weekend in the capital with a food court of Indian food and several musical performances. A photo exhibition tracing the cooperation between Seychelles and India will be one of the highlights of the event. “The Seychelles-India Day Celebrations is a golden opportunity to give the Indian community living in Seychelles its rightful recognition. Above all it is a positive move for the growth of our relations with India and for Seychelles to mark through its very own calendar of events the historical link with India. Many young Seychellois today trace their family lines back to someone who arrived from India,” said H.E. Alain St.Ange said. Sri Lankan President, H.E. Me Mahinda Rajapaksa had also announced that Sri Lankan Airline were keen to start flights to Seychelles this year. This is expected to further enrich this event and should be a big boost to this coming Indian Day Celebration. “Sri Lankan Airline will bring new life to the drive initiated by the Tourism Board to develop tourism from India. The first edition of India day timely coincides with the confirmation that Sri Lankan Airline will be flying to Seychelles soon,’’ said H.E. St.Ange. From India the best options to reach Seychelles is either Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates or to be launched SriLankan airlines. Ethiopian Airlines operate flights from Mumbai to Seychelles via Addis Ababa. Seychelles was Ethiopian’s 41st destination in Africa and 65th worldwide. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said, “Ethiopian will now provide more options for passengers flying from any part of the world to the Seychelles and vise versa to the cosmopolitan city of the living museum of natural history, where colourful blend of peoples of different races, cultures and religions are found.” The flight schedule is very convenient for Indians via Addis Ababa to Seychelles. Ethiopian does have promotional fares and special offers for this sector. Also Star Alliance Members will benefit as they will get miles for their travel and gold card holders will get lounge access as Ethiopian Airlines is a Star Alliance Member. 16 Sep - Oct 2013
    • Cover Story “For a true Seychelles’ experience, it is wise to plan your trip so to have a little bit of everything” Seychelles Tourism Board recently appointed a new CEO, Sherin Naiken. In an e-interview with Global Destinations she highlighted on what one can do on a visit to Seychelles. Excerpts Can you throw light on the present tourism scenario? At current we are 13% above for the same period of last year. An indicative figure which shows that we will end up with a positive growth again this year. This number has been consolidated by growths in our emerging markets namely the Far East, Middle East and eastern European countries. How do you place Seychelles as a value for money destination? One can very much enjoy an affordable and memorable holiday experience in Seychelles. We have beachfront to Mountain View accommodations, depending on your choice where one can still enjoy a premium-personalized service. I would suggest your readers to visit our Seychelles Secret website on www.seychellessecrets.com to view a selection of our homegrown value for money holiday choices. one to also include other nearby islands on the itinerary, which will however add a few more days to their program. The island hopping also provides great opportunities for one to plan in between other seabased activities such as snorkeling, diving and fishing. To enjoy our distinctive Creole cuisine it is worth to hop around to the various Creole restaurants around the islands as each of them offers their own specialty. How do you plan to project it as a honeymoon destination? Our everlasting summer period coupled by the simplicity, calmness and laid-back atmosphere of our islands poised itself naturally as the honeymoon destination. Secluded and taken away from the hustle and bustle of city life, surrounded by clear azure waters and countless of silky sandy beaches, Seychelles remains a dream honeymoon destination. What should tourists plan when they visit Seychelles? With countless of beaches, one will not resist relaxing and sunbathing for the major part of their holiday. However, for a true Seychelles’ experience, it is wise to plan your trip so to have a little bit of everything. There are a lot of immaculate snorkeling spots in Seychelles and if you are a bit more adventurous, we encourage you to try diving, sailing and fishing. Your Seychelles’ experience is not complete if you do not try out the Creole cuisine and experience its people, heritages sites and museums and of course a walk in the streets of its small capital, Victoria. What are the most popular sightseeing zones and how many days would be ideal for a visit? For anybody who visit Seychelles, they are drawn by the obvious of what our tiny archipelago is famous for; The world UNESCO site, Vallée de Mai on Praslin, our second largest island. The island is also home to the Anse Lazio beach, which has been rated as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. From there, it is also customary for the holiday-goers to hop off to our fourth largest island La Digue, a cultural island. We encourage for Sep - Oct 2013 What exactly is Seychelles Tourism Academy? The Seychelles Tourism Academy is the institution in Seychelles responsible for the training of our Seychellois students for careers in the tourism sector. The institution provides an array of international courses where the learning experience has been tailor made to provide our students with maximum exposure so as to competently serve our leading economic sector. How do you view the Indian market? The Indian market is one with potentials for Seychelles. We only needed to understand their travel patterns and holiday options. Geographically, we position well for India for short weekend off holiday provided we have the right air connectivity. Is Air Seychelles planning to start flights from India? Air connectivity is very important when we start to promote a potential market. Seychelles is still trying to look for a direct connection with India. Right now, the most direct route seems to be through Dubai or Abu Dhabi on Emirates or Etihad airways respectively. However, I am happy to announce that later this year we will be having a direct connection to Sri Lanka through Sri Lankan airlines. That would definitely bring the destination much closer to our market. Cover story photos courtesy Seychelles Tourism Board 17 Global Destinations