Who's Running The Show?
In Paris, the Seychelles Minister and his delegation were joined by Bernadette Willemin, the Seychelles Tourism Board's Paris-based Director for Europe; the island's Marketing Executive, Christine Vel; and Jennifer Dupuy. Air Seychelles' Justin Gosling and Christine Ozouf were also present at the meeting when Minister Alain St.Ange announced that Air Seychelles would, with immediate effect, operate its two weekly flights between Paris and Seychelles with only a technical stop in Abu Dhabi where passengers now remain on board the plane during the short stop.
"We can today announce that Seychelles has negotiated with Abu Dhabi for our flights to be authorized to make technical stops only in Abu Dhabi on the way to Seychelles. Tour operators from France have been requesting that their passengers traveling to Seychelles do not disembark during the transit stop in Abu Dhabi. The point was made that families with children were not happy with having to disembark and go through the security procedures before re-embarking on the plane. The same applied to the elderly passengers. Today we can confirm that we had heard the message and that the Abu Dhabi authorities had accepted to make an exception for the Air Seychelles flights to and from Paris and also Hong Kong," Minister St.Ange said.
The Seychelles Minister also explained the refocusing by Seychelles on tourism as the pillar of the island's economy with an inter-ministerial meeting with members of the tourism private sector and Chamber of Commerce and Industries where the challenges being faced by the industry are tabled, analyzed, and necessary actions proposed. This inter-ministerial meeting is being chaired by the island's Vice President Faure. Minister St.Ange also spoke about a separate committee instigated by President James Michel of the Seychelles that regroups the Ministers of Finance, Transport, and Tourism to analyze coordinated approaches to marketing and air access.
Also addressing the Paris tourism meeting were Captain David Savy and Mr. Manoj Papa. Both said that Air Seychelles had answered the call made by French tour operators and that this was but the first step to direct non-stop flights in the future. "We need to work together to stimulate the market and get numbers growing so that the island's national airline can in due course consider direct flights," they both said.