We Strive to be Creative in All our Marketing Activations: Amia Jovanovic-Desir, Seychelles Tourism

Industry Watch | March 5, 2021 | Interview

Seychelles Tourism Board Amia Jovanovic-Desir

The island country of Seychelles has recorded a 502% growth in tourist arrivals from India in the last six years and has executed many creative collaborations leading to a steady uptick in visitor numbers. Recently, Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) appointed BRANDit as its official representative in India, to handle marketing, sales and Public Relations for it in the Indian subcontinent.

Talking to EVENTFAQS Media about the appointment and tourism in Seychelles, Amia Jovanovic-Desir, Regional Director for India, Seychelles Tourism Board shares insights on the steady visitor numbers, strategies to promote Seychelles in the Indian market, memorable marketing activities done by Seychelles Tourism Board and more.

Please share some insights on the creative collaborations by Seychelles Tourism Board that have led to a steady uptick in the visitor numbers.

Seychelles Tourism Board had adopted a robust trade and consumer strategy in India to promote the destination as an ideal getaway for honeymoons and weddings while expanding our target segments to include celebrations and family holidays. Our long-term strategy is building the interest and stimulating consumer awareness about the Seychelles Islands, by placing a strong emphasis on the uniqueness of our island’s brand and image. Our core and the ultimate objective is to position the destination on the market to secure a sound percentage of the number of visitors to our shores and more importantly to build and strengthen a good share of the market in the medium and long term.

Over the years, we have successfully executed several projects in conjunction with our Indian partners. These include a Bollywood movie project, a Kingfisher calendar shoot alongside many culinary and culture shows filmed on the islands.

In 2018, Indian fashion designers Shivan and Narresh launched the EdoMer series inspired from the exotic locations of Seychelles. Pioneers in luxury resort wear, the collection was showcased in India at the Amazon Fashion Week in 2018 and the duo returned to the destination to conduct a photoshoot of the new line with a coveted crew. Not only was the new fashion line available at the designers’ retail stores but was also showcased at various affiliated resort’s boutique stores in India. A collaboration of this nature garnered great visibility and increased recall value for Seychelles. Another remarkable association was with Condé Nast Traveller India magazine that showcased fashion icon Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s first destination wedding collection shot in the picturesque locales of Seychelles. From merely 2,000 Indian visitors in 2013, Seychelles attracted over 14,000 in 2019, making India one of the top six source markets for us today.

What are your strategies along with BRANDit to promote Seychelles in the Indian market?

Focusing our strength on educating our Indian partners to be Seychelles Islands specialists is our key mission. Ensuring that the TAs are confident about the destination, motivating the front-liners (travel agents, online operators of virtual TOs and call centres) to turn enquiries into sales, build confidence about the destination as well as motivate the trade and consumers... Increasing sales to the destination and to establish and build a strong and long-term working relationship with key Indian partners.

We will also continue to focus on digitally-driven promotional activity to generate potential interest. We, therefore, intend to conduct PR related events with well-known and positioned influencers in the Indian circle. Influencers in the past have also helped to push for demand to our shores. 

By mid-March, Seychelles will be re-opening its borders to all countries worldwide with no quarantine requirement upon arrival. At present, vaccinated visitors and non-vaccinated travellers from India booking a private charter can travel immediately while other Indian tourists travelling via a commercial flight will be able to have a Seychelles holiday post-mid-March. The visitor will only require a negative COVID-19 PCR certificate no older than 72 hours.

Until then, our efforts will be towards increasing the number of private jet transfers/charter flights from India, encouraging unique private island stays that Seychelles has to offer.

Simultaneously, we will also focus on driving leisure traffic for travel post-March alongside tapping the mid-year wedding season in India. Our broader agenda is to increase the volume of intimate celebrations to boost tourism into Seychelles. The government has all protocols in place to ensure safe travel and stay for those looking at a luxurious international getaway.

Tell us about one memorable activation or experiential marketing activity done by Seychelles Tourism Board so far.

While we always strive to be creative in all our marketing activations, I enjoyed seeing the Condé Nast Traveller India and Sabyasachi shoot come alive in Seychelles. Intending to target the celebrations segment, we jumped on an innovative opportunity of presenting the destination through one of the most luxurious associations in India. The April 2019 edition of Condé Nast Traveller India magazine saw the first of its kind showcase of resort wear and destination wedding trousseau by India's celebrated designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee. With a pristine backdrop of Four Seasons, Desroches Island, the photoshoot not only gave us Internet-breaking viral images but also produced two magazine covers – the main issue of Conde Nast Traveller April issue as well as its annual supplement, Destination Wedding Guide, both highly regarded in the Indian market. We also saw a rise in leisure stay and wedding inquires for Four Seasons Resorts in Mahé and Desroches Island post the association. Moreover, it led to a spike in interest for Seychelles as a destination among the wedding planners’ community in India, who reached out to us for weddings and intimate celebrations.

Amia Jovanovic-Desir, Regional Director for India, Seychelles Tourism Board in an exclusive conversation with EVENTFAQS Media

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