September 16, 2010
Everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die. I have been told that the only way to go to heaven without dying is by visiting the beautiful island of the Seychelles (pronounced—say-chells).
It is an island country consisting of 115 smaller (mostly uninhabited) islands. It is located off the east coast of Africa (northeast of Madagascar) in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It has a small population, just over 87,000 people; but is big on hospitality.
President James Michel has made a serious investment in his country’s most valued asset—it’s people. They speak Creole, French and English. With tourism being their largest source of revenue, he has impressed upon his people the importance of being great hosts to all visitors.
President Michel has also put in place a solid infrastructure to ensure the long term economic and political viability of his country for years to come.
Now that President Michel has gotten his “internal” house in order, he is looking outward.
The Seychelles is launching a series of Investment Forums in different countries. The first one will be next Tuesday in New York City in the U.S. I was asked by a friend, Mr. Peter Sinon, to help organize this event. The Honorable Peter Sinon is the Minister of Investments & Natural Resources. He last served his country as Executive Director of the African Development Bank.
Over the past year, I have become more aware of the possibilities of the Seychelles expanding it’s presence as a destination spot for American tourists. With them having a very stable government and economy, they are also a fertile country for possible investments.
America presents a great, untapped market for the Seychelles in terms of additional tourists, but also as new sources of investment.
Most Americans have never heard of the Seychelles and most have never visited. I strongly encourage the country to develop an awareness campaign to educate Americans to the opportunities present within the Seychelles.
Americans have millions of high net worth individuals, celebrities, athletes, and businessmen who can well afford to take their vacations (holidays) in this beautiful country. But, thusfar, there has been no effort by the Seychelles to reach out to this population of Americans.
I think their upcoming Investment Forum is a great first step. It will be in Tribeca, in lower Manhattan, New York. They have a high powered delegation coming to the U.S. It is being led by their Vice President, Mr. Danny Faure, the President of the African Development Bank, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, and Mr. Peter Sinon, to name a few.
Because of air travel, the world is constantly shrinking and we are becoming a more global society. Americans, because of our wealth, have a plethora of choices when it comes to discretionary dollars for vacations (holidays).
It is incumbent upon the Seychelles to increase it’s visibility to targeted demographic groups within the U.S. This can best be accomplished with a well thought out marketing campaign that touts the virtues of making the Seychelles a must see destination!
Just imagine having the best of both worlds: going to heaven without dying. Can you say Seychelles? I can!
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).