To commemorate 50 years since the opening of the Seychelles International Airport, during this year’s ‘Tourism Festival’ celebrations, the Tourism Department will be honouring pioneers who launched their first ventures into the hospitality industry in 1972.
In a press conference on Thursday, the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Sherin Francis, outlined that during the yearly ‘Tourism Pioneer’ event this year, the founders of the first hotels opened in Seychelles will be honoured.
“We will not only be celebrating 50 years since the airport opened but we are also celebrating 50 years of seeing our tourism industry blossom. There will be activities through the week through which we will be commemorating these 50 years,” said Francis.
To be held under the theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism: Experience Our Culture’, the festival will unfold from September 24 to October 1.
“When you talk about rethinking tourism, we are re-looking at how we promote the industry, and how you promote what visitors are attracted to in your country. We all know that the main reason visitors come to Seychelles is for our waters, beaches, and natural beauty, but we also want to promote cultural experiences to provide our visitors with more things to do,” said Francis.
It was further outlined that global trends indicate that tourists are looking to connect with the country they visit and they achieve this through cultural immersions as a destination, Seychelles needs to take this into account.
In the spirit of decentralising activities, this year’s opening will be taking place on La Digue – Seychelles’ third most populated island – and is being called ‘A Diguois Rendevous’. The island is considered to be the most culturally rich among all islands of the archipelago.
Another adjustment made to this year’s activities is the meet and greet with inbound visitors which takes place on September 27, commemorating International Tourism Day.
This year, the meet-and-greet of tourists will be taking place at tourism hotspots on the three main islands instead of at only the entry points. On Mahe, this will be done at the Botanical Garden where visitors coming in on the day will be offered a local tea infusion and local snacks. On Praslin this will take place at Cote D’Or in partnership with La Pirogue Restaurant and on La Digue, the meet and greet will take place at L’Union Estate.
New on the calendar of activities is an event that will be held in close partnership with the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA).
“There will be a heritage tour at their Biodiversity Centre, Barbarons. The tour will be carried out throughout the week every day from 9 am to 3 pm. It will be open to anyone who wants to participate. People will be able to taste some local infusions and snacks,” said Francis.
Appearing for the second consecutive year on the programme is the children’s interviews of local personalities in the tourism industry. This aims at getting the younger generation interested in the field at a young age.