Swiss couple selected as symbols of tourism record break visitors’ arrivals as numberspass 200,000 mark for 2012 .
Five days after Seychelles actually surpassed the projected 200,000 target for visitors’ arrivals for 2012 was reached on Sunday 23 December, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) on Thursday afternoon hosted a special ceremony to symbolize the historic occasion.
The ceremony, held at the Pointe Larue international airport saw a couple from Switzerland, Hervé Stalder who is a film-maker and his partner Clea Marcuard selected by the STB to symbolise the record breaking figure of 200,000. The couple had travelled on board the Air Seychelles’ flight from Abu Dhabi and was very happy to have been chosen for the occasion, after making a long tiring journey to Seychelles all the way from Switzerland via Abu Dhabi. “We are a bit jetlagged but happy to be in Seychelles, a country very dear to our hearts,” Hervé, who has been to Seychelles seven times already, told reporters during an interview. Clea was on her third visit to Seychelles.
“It is an amazing country with nice people and interesting landscape. Seychelles is just the right place to come for a holiday break if you live in Europe. We are very stressed in Europe and for me La Digue is the best spot in the country,” Hervé told the press.
Upon their arrival, they were presented with locally-woven traditional hats, and Clea received a bag-full of Carnival International de Victoria souvenirs, gift vouchers and a garland of franchipagne flowers.The couple was on their way to La Digue where they will be celebrating the New Year.
The Chairman of the STB Ambassador Barry Faure and the chief executive officer of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), Mr. Gilbert Faure were at the apron to meet the couple.
In the 2013 Budget address earlier in December, the Finance Ministry has projected that the tourism earnings are expected to reach US$305 million (estimated SCR 3,965 million) in 2012, or 5% above last year. It has already been projected that tourism is projected to grow by 3% in 2013, and this is expected to be achieved through growth in new markets such as Asia, Russia and the GCC. According to the Finance Ministry, “European markets will continue to be subject of uncertainty but we nevertheless anticipate a modest rebound in 2013.”
It should be pointed out that despite a reduction in arrivals from several European countries, tourists from Europe continue to make the bulk of this year’s figure with 139,805 visitors. This is followed by Asia with 30,276, Africa with 24,368, America with 5,404 and Oceania with 1,189 visitors.
Seychelles is closing this year with a total of 201,042 visitors, representing an increase of 7% over 2011 arrivals. Last year a total of 194,476 visitors came to Seychelles.