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Seychelles launches 'Seychelles Smart' certification program in Dubai

Travel News Asia 17 December 2002

The Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority (STMA) announced the launch of 'Seychelles Smart,' an innovative tour operator and travel agent certification programme, which is designed to stimulate interest and generate greater awareness in the Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago which is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled destinations in the world.

The self-study programme which is being launched in the UAE is part of an overall marketing strategy designed by STMA and will be soon be extended to the rest of the Middle East. The first module of the programme to be launched is expected to commence with a lunch presentation seminar for UAE tour operators and travel agents in Dubai Wednesday, December 18, at Jumeirah Beach HotelClub, Dubai.

Announcing the launch of 'Seychelles Smart' at a press conference in Dubai today, Jenni Hanns Harris-Beggs, Director of Marketing Operations, STMA, said: 'Seychelles Smart' is a certification programme designed by the STMA, and is aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge on Seychelles as a preferred potential destination among tour operators and travel agents abroad. This programme has already been very successfully launched in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and South Africa with a total of over 1,000 members. The initial group who enrolled for the programme in the United Kingdom and South Africa will qualify in January 2003 and will be certified as 'Seychelles Smart' "

"The need for such a programme arose due to a certain element of complexity that is involved in promoting the Seychelles. In order to assist tour operators and travel agents to effectively promote such an unusual destination, we have devised 'Seychelles Smart,' an innovative educational programme designed with their needs in mind. This specialized course offers UAE tourism industry professionals training and guidance on the essential techniques required to sell and promote the Seychelles," said Harris-Beggs.

"Seychelles Smart is a self-study modular programme designed to increase awareness and facilitate the process of promoting the Seychelles. It offers a progressive accumulation of knowledge that will be evaluated at each stage. Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority offers the Seychelles Smart educational program to travel partners in the Middle East, thus ensuring that they are fully equipped to promote a destination that is made up of 115 islands, has 50 per cent of its landmass under conservation, provides a wide range of leisure activities and boasts incredible flora and fauna," she added.

"We believe that with its high per capita income and significant education levels, the Middle East offers great potential for promoting Seychelles as an ideal holiday destination. We are confident that the 'Seychelles Smart' programme will facilitate the development of an exclusive group of 'Seychelles Experts' within the UAE, able to provide a comprehensive and highly professional service to their clients," added Ms HannsHarris-Beggs.

Mohammaed Al Geziry, Managing DirectorChairman of, Mouhammaed Al Geziry Consultancy, the representative Seychelles Tourism Office of STMA in the Middle East said: "The Seychelles Smart certification programme is being launched in direct response to the growing need for alternative leisure destinations required by the UAE market, along with the necessity to promote need for smarter ways of selling the destination in today's highly competitive environment. We are delighted that the Seychelles Tourism Marketing Authority has devised such a certification programme that will enable make tour operators and travel agents to promote the destination with greater confidence while at the same time strengthening the links between Seychelles and their travel partners within the UAE".

"The UAE has a strong base of outbound tourism and we believe that the Seychelles offers a unique alternative to the more generally visited destinations from the area. The islands have an immense diversity and variety with a wide range of unspoiled islands, some of the most beautiful and deserted beaches in the world, untouched forests and bird sanctuaries and a highly controlled tourism policy ensuring that the islands remain this way for future generations," said Al Geziry. 

"The Seychelles' outstanding natural attributes and world class private resorts, in conjunction with STMA's progressive approach to marketing the destination and their ability to cater to and invest in each individual region leads the UAE travel market to have continued faith in the product. The 'Seychelles Smart' programme reiterates this commitment whilst ensuring that expert advice will be available to all potential visitors" he added.

"When there is a choice of diverse destinations and holiday packages, the key to successful marketing is the adoption of specialist tools, such as the ones incorporated in Seychelles Smart. We are confident that this program will bring several benefits to the travel and tour operators who can upgrade and augment their marketing skills."

Tour operators and travel agents, who enroll for the four-module educational orientation programme Seychelles Smart, will be provided with an exclusive Seychelles Smart kit containing all necessary training brochures, orientation manual and comprehensive training manual as part of Level one. This will qualify the participants to move to the next levels. Level two will take the participants through the classification of the 115 islands and their characteristics, facilities and accommodation, to detailed insights into niche interests such as sailing, diving, fishing, romance, flora and fauna. The final module will provide more hands-on training with the opportunity to visit the Seychelles.

Seychelles has been hailed as one of the world's most unspoiled tropical destinations islands. As opposed to mass tourism, Seychelles has adopted a prudent policy of developing tourism with an ecological face; half of the country's landmass has been set aside as protected nature reserves and top priority is given to ensuring sustainability through the protection of the terrestrial and marine environments.

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