The Saudi Arabian airline Flynas will operate flights to Seychelles three times a week starting July 1, in what amounts to a further expansion of the island nation’s air connectivity to tourism markets, a top government official said Thursday.
The Seychelles’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, told reporters that “this presents a big opportunity for Seychelles as we can now tap into that market. It will provide Saudi Arabian visitors as well as the expatriate community there with the possibility to fly to Seychelles directly.”
Flynas will fly to Seychelles from Jeddah, with fast connections to or from Riyadh and Dammam. Operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the five-hour-and 40-minute flight will be done by an A320 Neo aircraft with a capacity of 174 seats.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Sherin Francis, said: “We anticipate that this new route will greatly enhance the visibility of our destination in Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring regions… We believe that this will help build travel confidence towards the Seychelles islands. Not having to connect through other countries also makes it easier and more convenient.”
On his side, Ahmed Fathallah, STB representative in the Middle East, said that “for a while now, the lack of direct flights has been a determining factor for travellers in the Kingdom who want to experience Seychelles. These non-stop flights will not only help the travellers but also our trade partners in the travel industry, as this will make it easy for them to direct their valued clients to the sunny islands of Seychelles.”
Meanwhile, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean and Saudi Arabia are seeking to improve trade between the two countries as well as engage the private sector in projects that will reflect in the positive development of the island nation.
The statement was made by the Minister of State for African Countries Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Kattan following an official visit to the Seychelles’ president, Wavel Ramkalawan, at State House.
“I reaffirm to his excellency the president of Seychelles the Kingdom’s sincere interest in strengthening the important relations between our two countries, acknowledging the unity of our positions towards issues that matter to both our countries. I also have the pleasure to reflect on his royal highness, the crowned prince initiatives – Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle-East Initiative – aiming to respond to climate change and protecting the environment,” said Kattan.
He also affirmed his country’s support for development in Africa and announced that the country will be making available a sum of $1 billion, through the Saudi Fund for Development in Africa, this year.
Radegonde said that this fund will be available for all African countries to tap into for different projects, especially the private sector.
“We will need to work on the different projects or activities that we will present to them to be assessed. This is not money that is being given away, they are being loaned out or will involve both parties. There might be projects relating to fisheries, tourism or agriculture, anything that is of interest to us,” said Radegonde.