Cape Town - Tourism between South Africa and the Seychelles is blooming.
Not only has Air Seychelles added a fifth weekly flight from Johannesburg to their schedule to meet passenger demand, usually increasing this flight route according to seasonality but it has also announced plans for a non-stop twice-weekly flights between Durban and Seychelles from 30 March 2017.
This new flight will mean a major boost for tourism to the island from Durban, according to Durban-based tour operators.
SEE: Air Seychelles adds fifth weekly Joburg flight
The new flight means Durban travellers will be able to get to the Seychelles in less than 5 hours, whereas previously they had to fly via Johannesburg. The ease of travel will make the destination more attractive and will undoubtedly boost sales, according to the Seychelles Tourism Board.
Lena Hoareau, Seychelles Tourism South Africa Manager says, “Durban holds a lot of potential, which can now be explored and developed thanks to the introduction of a direct flight.”
The new flight will offer Durbanites an attractive alternative to the traditional Mauritius packages, adds Wendy Schulze, Senior Leisure Manger for Thompsons Travel.
“Mauritius has always been the flavour with the Durban market due to the direct flights, so we are hoping this new route will boost the Durban market as Seychelles is absolutely amazing and such a pretty destination,” says Schulze.
Added to this it removes the need and cost of domestic airfares, streamlining clients’ travel arrangements.
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Vicky Steinhardt, Product Manager for Pentravel, says the direct flights will also make the destination more affordable for Durban travellers. She says, “Although Seychelles can be perceived as a very costly destination, this direct flight will make it more affordable. A domestic add on can easily add R2 000 onto your ticket, adding up to a hefty R10k for a family of 4.”
Air Seychelles will operate an Airbus A320 on the route, leaving Durban on Thursdays and Saturdays at 13h45 to arrive in Seychelles at 21:05. Return flights will depart the same days at 09:25 to arrive back in Durban at 12:50.
At Indaba 2016, Tourism board from the Seychelles and South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to not only enhance travel between the two countries but to collaborate on preferred destination positioning for travellers looking to visit both countries.
SEE: Durban readies for INDABA 2017 as exhibitor registration opens
New Seychelles airport on the cards
Visitor arrival to the Seychelles reached almost 280 000 in 2015 and it is bound to expand even more in future.
In an effort to meet growing tourist demand, the Seychelles and the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), have agreed to build a new international airport for the island destination.
The agreement, signed in the United Arab Emirates in October 2016, follows more than three years of discussions between ADAC and the Seychelles' government. The UAE and the western Indian Ocean island already have transport ties. Most notably, Etihad Airways owns a 40% stake in Air Seychelles.
The existing Seychelles International airport, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, is becoming too small to handle the increasing amount of traffic to the islands, mostly generated by tourism.
The Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) also announced they will open a new office to open in Johannesburg, set on gaining more South African island-seeking holiday-makers.
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