Tourism: A first group of travel professionals from Reunion Island become certified Seychelles SMART agents
Four travel agents from Reunion Island are now certified ‘Seychelles SMART’ agents and better equipped to sell the destination.
Audrey Mallet, Magalie Elly, Sophie Richand, and Cindy Agathe have become the first travel agents from Reunion to obtain the Seychelles SMART certification.
They received their certificates from the hands of the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Deputy Chief Executive, Jenifer Sinon, on Saturday November 11, 2017. This was in a short ceremony at the AVANI Seychelles hotel, culminating their seven-day familiarization trip in Seychelles.
This was in the presence of STB’s Senior Marketing Executive based in Reunion, Bernadette Honore, Marketing Executive for the Indian Ocean, Daphnee Zahary, AVANI’s General Manager Stephane Vilar and the Sales Manager responsible for France, Benelux and Reunion at Mason’s Travel, Paul Lebon.
STB’s Seychelles SMART Certification programme has three components. Travel agents are first given an in-depth and detailed overview of the Seychelles islands, through a training session.
The agents are then given one year to sell three Seychelles’ holiday packages, which automatically qualifies them for a special educational trip to the island destination.
The trip, where they get to experience the islands first hand, sampling a variety of products and activities, both inland and at sea, is the last step needed to be certified.
A total of 39 agents have undergone the first step of the programme in Reunion this year; the first batch of agents were trained in April followed by a second group in October.
Audrey Mallet and Sophie Richand who work for Thomas Cook, Magalie Elly who works for Bourbons Voyage and Cindy Agathe who work for Tropic Voyage, are the first among the 39 who have sold the three required holiday packages, allowing them to undertake the last step in becoming Seychelles SMART agents.
Prior to obtaining their certificates, the three agents enjoyed a seven-day educational trip on the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, from November 5 to 12. They got to experience some 30 accommodations from small self-caterings to five star establishments, the Creole cuisine, activities and attractions including the picturesque beach of Anse Lazio, as well as the UNESCO heritage site of Vallee De Mai.
Mason’s Travel, which is the main Destination Management Company in Seychelles working with Thomas Cook, Bourbons Voyage and Tropic Voyage to sell the destination in Reunion collaborated to put together the educational trip, getting the agents to experience the various products and services that are included in holiday packages they are selling to holidaymakers on that market. The Seychelles Tourism Board provided logistical support for the trip.
Addressing the agents on their last day in Seychelles, Ms Honore said: “You have experienced the destination and you now have better knowledge of the various products on offer. We count on you to portray the dream destination as you sell Seychelles to your clients, so that we can further increase the number of visitors from Reunion.”
All four newly certified Seychelles SMART agents have said that while they were already selling Seychelles from the knowledge they had of the destination, having personally experienced the products and relaying the emotions to their clients is the best way to sell the destination. They all relayed the great experiences they had, as well as warm welcome and great services received throughout their FAM trip and said that they are looking forward to send more holidaymakers to Seychelles.
The STB office in Reunion is planning to organize more FAM trips for travel agents in 2018, as more of them reach the final stage of obtaining the Seychelles SMART certification.
Reunion, which is the Seychelles’ top market in the Indian Ocean region has sent 5,431 visitors to Seychelles up to November 5, 2017. This represents an 11 percent increase when compared to the same period in 2016.
Source: Alain St. Ange