Victoria (Seychelles) – March 31, 2013 – Members of the Seychelles tourism board led by the Minister for Tourism & Culture, Alain St.Ange, and the CEO of the Tourism Board, Elsia Grandcourt, joined officials from both Air Seychelles and government and representatives of the Seychelles and international press on Air Seychelles’ inaugural flight to Hong Kong on March 24, 2011.
This landmark flight of the national carrier, Air Seychelles, came only days after Air Seychelles received an addition to its fleet in the form of a 2nd Airbus 330-200, aptly named the Vallee de Mai after the islands’ 2nd UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The inaugural flight, on which some 70 special guests were invited, came as an emphatic endorsement of Air Seychelles’ enhanced capacity to take on new routes and, in collaboration with the Seychelles Tourism Board and members of the trade, to boost tourism to Seychelles by further penetrating the Chinese market which is already witnessing significant growth.
The flight took off from Seychelles on the afternoon of the March 24 amid much fanfare at the airport after a reception at the CIP lounge and speeches by Joel Morgan, Minister for the Interior&Transport; H.E. Mr. Shi Zhongjun, the Chinese Ambassador; Mr. Cramer Ball, CEO of Air Seychelles; and Mr. Alain St. Ange, the Minister for Tourism&Culture.
After the short flight to Abu Dhabi where a ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted with senior officials from Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles and where the aircraft was greeted with a water cannon salute, it then took to the skies, heading east to Hong Kong.
Also present on this historic flight were Air Seychelles Board members Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Mr. Jean Weeling-Lee, and Mr. Steve Fanny who were accompanied by a delegation of members of the Seychelles Tourism Board and the local trade: Mr. Eric Renard from Creole Travel Services (firstname.lastname@example.org); Mr. Frank Wesselhoeft from Banyan Tree Seychelles (email@example.com); Mr. Jacques Charles from the Constance Group (firstname.lastname@example.org); Kempinski’s General Manager Jean-Marc Michel (jean-marc Michel @ kempinski.com) and Director of Sales&Marketing Mr. Sanjay Nair (sanjay email@example.com); Mr. Philip Guiton from Ephelia Resort (firstname.lastname@example.org); Ms. Caroline O’Grady from the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles (caroline ogrady @fourseasons.com); Mr. Koogan Vythelingum, commercial executive at the Beachcomber Ste. Anne Resort(email@example.com); Mrs. Elizabeth Fideria, manager of Big Blue Divers (firstname.lastname@example.org); Mr. Richard Simon, General Manager of Indian Ocean Lodge (email@example.com); Mrs. Jenny Pomeroy, Director of La Reserve Hotel (firstname.lastname@example.org); Mrs. Daniella Payet-Alis Director of Seychelles Connect(email@example.com); and Mr. Mathieu De Tonnac, General Manager of Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The delegation arrived in Hong Kong on March 25 for 2 days of events arranged by Air Seychelles which included a press conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel followed by a cocktail reception at the same venue. The following day, the press corps was treated to a familiarization trip of Hong Kong organized by the Hong Kong Tourist Board while members of the trade and the Seychelles Tourism Board conducted workshops designed to raise the profile of the islands in this new destination before setting off to Seychelles by return flight on the morning of Thursday, March 28.
“This inaugural flight and the opportunities it grants us to bring more Chinese visitors to our shores, comes after many months of hard work and collaboration with our partners in the trade and Air Seychelles,” stated Elsia Grandcourt, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, “and goes to show what can be achieved by pulling together for the common good. It signifies a new departure and a new era in which Seychelles will continue to diversify its tourism markets beyond its traditional ones, and I think we are all aware that we have witnessed a watershed moment in Seychelles tourism industry which places us in a strong position to capitalize on this important new tourism dynamic.”
For full Seychelles Travel Directory go to www.VisitSeychelles.org