SPEECH – DESTINATION TOURISM WORKSHOP
BY – HIGH COMMISSIONER TO SRI LANKA, MR. CONRAD MEDERIC
THURSDAY 28TH MARCH 2018
TAJ SAMUDRA HOTEL
Good morning everyone, special guests and invitees, representatives from the Seychelles Tourism Board; I extend a humble and warm welcome to today’s event, which is a first for Seychelles in Colombo.
Tourism is by and large a strategic necessity in both the developed and developing worlds. Its returns outweigh investments on its infrastructure and continue to raise economies from negative economic ramifications as a key contributor within the service sector. Around the world, tourism has provided jobs to one in 10 individuals, making it one of the world’s largest service sectors that drives economic development across countries with 10.4% of global GDP and 319 million jobs, or 10% of total global employment, in 2018.
The impact of travel and tourism as an economic stronghold can be seen in our island nations. No different to the global context, both Sri Lanka and Seychelles benefit massively from both outbound and domestic tourism. With considerable contributions to local GDP and employment opportunities, tourism continues to evolve and be developed by both private sector stakeholders and Governments around the globe.
Seychelles tourism sector is no exception in its contribution to our national economy. Tourism accounts for 65.3% percent of our GDP with 26.5% of direct jobs being generated from tourism. Seychelles tourism has created its fair share of travel companies, tour operators, ferry services such as the famous Cat Cocos, air service operators and many other by-products of tourism related services.
Seychelles was once considered to be the original Garden of Eden. Discovered by explorers many centuries ago, our islands still retain the same, old-world charm and its original natural beauties making it a travelers’ paradise – an escape into a timeless adventure amidst tropical bounties and natural wonders.
For tourists, Seychelles offers an endless offering of leisure activities, a wide selection of accommodations with plush amenities as well as the experience of enjoying our Creole culture and rich African influences. Tourists can enjoy island hopping – take planned excursions to island’s that surround the main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
With VISA being issued on arrival, Seychelles gets an influx of tourists every year who disperse within the main islands as well as into the outer islands for a stay that’s relaxing, adventurous or simply to enjoy time away from the busy city lives of populated countries. With a population of little over 90,000 Seychelles is an archipelago that offers peace and tranquility complemented by a safe and secure environment.
It is my high regard that both our nations have greater potentials in increasing outbound travel and tourism between Sri Lanka and Seychelles. Not only can our tourism sectors benefit from such general cooperation but as neighbors residing in the same Oceanic waters, it should be in our interest in exploring each other’s cultures, places of religious and historical importance as well as in encouraging our people to truly experience what each country has to offer.
Both Seychelles and Sri Lanka possess UNESCO world heritage sites adding a level of nationalistic pride as well as providing interest and enjoyment to thousands of tourists from across the world. With an abundance of attractions and rich heritage shared by both nations we have unlimited potential and resources which can be used in promoting our nations as travel destinations.
As an archipelago Seychelles is blessed with a generous abundance of our very own paradise on earth. Seychelles has a rich variety of breathtaking beaches, laced with pristine white sand, guarded by turquoise and cerulean ocean waters swarming with diverse aquatic life and ancient coral reefs.
As outbound travel partners I invite you all to facilitate better options in allowing Sri Lankans to explore what Seychelles has to offer, including, our nature reserves and UNESCO world heritage sites of Vallée de Mai and Aldabra island that is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises and Coco de Mer or the sea coconut found only in Seychelles – unique symbols of our culture and heritage. Our wonderful archipelago nation has all these and much more to offer and what I have touched upon is just a layer of an entire world that is unrivalled in its beauty.
Therefore, we request your assistance in creating more inclusive and price flexible packages for tourists from, Sri Lanka to enjoy the entire gamut of leisure activities and attractions offered by Seychelles. We also thank Sri Lankan Air Lines for being the only air travel company to provide direct flights to Seychelles from Colombo and why not consider further price modifications in ticket prices for allowing more tourists to visit Seychelles.
A perfect retreat for couples and families, Seychelles is a postcard backdrop for weddings and anniversaries and I hope that together with the Seychelles Tourism Board, travel agents and tour operators of Sri Lanka will strongly promote Seychelles as an idyllic travel and leisure destination for Sri Lankans.
Finally, I thank you all for attending today’s workshop and expect all of you to truly understand the potential Seychelles has to offer in increasing outbound travel between the two countries.
Thank you and hope you all a pleasant day…