Seychelles holds first-ever destination workshops in Kazakhstan

Tourism Seychelles and the national airline, Air Seychelles, hosted the first-ever destination workshops in Kazakhstan last week.

This workshop was conducted in a bid to drive up business from that market now that there are direct flights linking the two countries.

Air Seychelles introduced direct flights to the city of Almaty in December 2022, which will continue until the end of the winter schedule in March. Flights will resume again in June.

The two workshops were held in the cities of Almaty and Astana, as ten companies from the local trade hit the road in a roadshow format to meet existing and new sellers.

The companies participating alongside Tourism Seychelles and Air Seychelles were local Destination Management Companies (DMCs) Creole Travel Services, Mason’s Travel, 7° South, Luxe Voyages, Summer Rain Tours, SilverPearls Tours and Travels, as well as hotel partners Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Savoy Seychelles Resort and Spa, Story Seychelles and Anantara Maia Seychelles.

The first part of the events was the workshop format, whereby each company had a table to present its products or services. They were able to establish contacts and meet new agents they did not have access to previously.

For most of them, it was their first-time meeting trade partners from Seychelles on a 1-to-1 basis, and there was a high level of interest to learn more about the destination and what it offers.

The workshops also provided further networking opportunities for both trade partners and agents during dinner, which included presentations and video screenings of the different products.

It is important to note that Kazakhstan is a fairly new market for the majority of the local trade.

Although it has gradually produced small numbers of visitors to Seychelles over the years, it had not been a strong enough source market for any company.

Now, with the new direct flights, which will extend the connections in and out of Almaty beyond June, there are more prospects to develop the market and more opportunities to drive up sales.

Tourism Seychelles’ Director for Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe, Lena Hoareau, who led Seychelles’ delegation in Kazakhstan, said the workshops enabled the trade partners to understand this ‘new’ emerging market better.

“As all new markets, Kazakhstan has its own market specifics.”

“And the workshops were meant to give us an insight into their travelers and their expectations. For example, we were also able to appraise the extent of the language barrier and concluded that not every Kazakhstani who would disembark in Seychelles would be able to communicate fluently in English.

“We also learnt a bit about their interests through their questions at the tables and through observing the things that drew their attention and the kind of products that piqued their interest. Undoubtedly, all receiving DMCs and hotels now better understand what to expect in anticipation of the arrival of a Kazakhstani guest. Some are, of course, already in the know because they have been getting clients from that market, but in preparation for an increase in tourists from Kazakhstan this year, thanks to the extension of the direct flights, we can all be better prepared to meet their expectations,” she said.

Seychelles and Kazakhstan signed a historic aviation agreement to foster new tourism links in October 2022. The air services agreement allows airlines to operate direct flights between Mahe and Kazakhstan.

Since January 1 to the week ending on February 12, 830 Kazakhstani tourists have visited Seychelles, of which 98 % have travelled on the Air Seychelles flight. A dozen other passengers with Uzbek passports also flew to Almaty to connect with the Air Seychelles flight. Altogether, Air Seychelles carried 849 passengers for this period.

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