New charter flights to present better access between Sofia-Mahé in early 2023

Enthusiastic Bulgarians are now getting ready to bask under the sunny skies of the Seychelles Islands as three new direct flights will link the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, to the main island, Mahé, starting from January 2023. 
 
This is part of continued efforts to make the destination more accessible to and preferred by Bulgarian travellers. 
 
The news was announced during a blitz visibility campaign in Sofia last week organised by Tourism Seychelles, featuring two main events attended by numerous trade partners and media collaborators. 
 
The Tourism Seychelles team comprised the Director General of Marketing, Mrs Bernadette Willemin and the Director for Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Mrs Lena Hoareau, who delivered keynote addresses and destination presentations at both events. 
 
The first event was an intimate Press and VIP Seychelles luncheon held on Thursday, 24th November, which was graced by the presence of Ms Irena Georgieva, Bulgaria’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr Maxim Behar, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Seychelles and Mr Emrecan Inancer, the Turkish Airlines General Manager for Bulgaria. 
 
Also in attendance were two of the three tour operators behind the new charter flights, Luxutour and Planet Travel Center. 
 
The dates of the flights were announced as: 20.01.2023-28.01.2023, 25.02.2023-05.03.2023 and 18.03.2023-26.03.2023. These will be realised with the support of the Seychelles Destination Management Company, 7° South. 
Deputy Tourism Minister Georgieva saluted the thriving bilateral relations between the two countries and thanked Tourism Seychelles and the Honorary Consul General for their efforts towards sharing more knowledge of the picturesque holiday destination with the Bulgarians. 
“Seychelles is undoubtedly one of our partners in tourism with whom we want to develop our relations and deepen the opportunities for fruitful cooperation in the future. It is a preferred destination for high-end tourism and is a shining example of a valuable tourism product that is developed and promoted by some of the best Bulgarian tour operators. I believe that the foundations of our cooperation have already been laid because many Bulgarians know the destination with its best advantages,” said Ms Georgieva. 
On her part, Seychelles’ Director General for Marketing, Mrs Willemin, spoke on the destination’s strategy to expand its promotional efforts across all markets where there are noticeable and solid potentials, including Bulgaria. She said Bulgaria is in the top five Central Europe markets for Seychelles and thus has promising abilities for growth. This year, a total of 1,719 Bulgarians have visited Seychelles up until October 2022. 
 
“We are happy that Bulgaria has become one of the key tourism markets for Seychelles. The flow of Bulgarian tourists continues to increase because of the islands’ beautiful nature, the diverse attractions and activities and, of course, our authentic culture. In other words, we have a product that appeals greatly to them. We believe that our destination can offer unforgettable experiences for everyone, and the direct flights will greatly facilitate their travel there,” she said. 
Mrs Willemin also thanked the Honorary Consul General for joining efforts with Tourism Seychelles to bring the two Seychelles dedicated events to that market. 
She also thanked Turkish Airlines for systematically supporting the destination through their excellent connections, which not only present formidable access options to the Bulgarian market but to Europe in general. 
“It is very important for us to be part of the good bilateral relations between the two countries and have the opportunity to support them further and develop their tourism sector. Our goal is to have daily connections to Seychelles by 2024,” said Mr Inancer from Turkish Airlines. 
Mr Petar Stoyanov, General Director of Luxutour and Ms Darina Stefanova, General Director of Planet Travel Center, also addressed the guests and provided more information on the three charter flights, which have already gone on sale. 
Earlier in the week, Tourism Seychelles also hosted a Train and Dine event for over 50 members of the trade in its first-ever dedicated workshop in that city. The eager tour operators and travel agents endured the cold and drizzle to attend the event, which comprised presentations by both Tourism Seychelles and 7° South. 
 
During the event, Ms Anna Butler Payette, Managing Director of 7° South, highlighted the beautiful places to visit and things to do in Seychelles as well as her company’s services in realising every guest’s dream. 
Several print, radio and TV interviews were initiated at both events, as news of the charter flights was met with great enthusiasm, and more Bulgarians are now showing interest in the warm and exotic holiday destination that is Seychelles. 
Similar charter operations were organised at the beginning of the year from the European capital, with two full-capacity direct flights. The aircraft to be used in the January-March 2023 operations will be from Bulgaria Air – with 180 seats per flight – and with a technical stop in Djibouti on each leg. 

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