Seychelles was represented at the Travel + Leisure’s 2017 World’s Best Awards ceremony held in New York City last Wednesday.

Some 200 guests attended the event hosted by Travel + Leisure’s Publisher, Mr. Joseph Messer, and Editor in Chief, Mr. Nathan Lump.

The ceremony saw the presentation of accolades to top hotels, islands, cities, airlines, cruise lines, spas, among others, as voted by readers of the New York-based travel magazine.

Readers of Travel + Leisure are given the opportunity to rate their travel experiences around the globe on an annual basis.

The Seychelles Tourism Board’s Regional Director for Africa and the Americas, Mr. David Germain was presented with the award designating Seychelles as the best island in Africa and the Middle East.

It’s the second year in a row that Seychelles is rated in the top spot in this category by Travel + Leisure.

Mr. Germain said: “The Award is confirmation that our beautiful islands is becoming more and more popular in North America, topping the list of the most desirable holiday destinations worldwide.”

Visitor arrivals from the Americas to the Seychelles increased by 69 percent from January to June.

Mr. Germain remarked that US consumers choose to visit Africa because of the wildlife, history, geography and people, hence Seychelles is in a unique position to attract visitors from the US thanks to its proximity to Africa.

“Our mission is to promote this message, to a cross-section of US audiences: consumers with a passion for international travel and the travel suppliers who serve them,” said Mr. Germain.

Opportunities to increase arrivals from the North American market lies in the Seychelles Tourism Board’s ability to participate in exhibitions and trade shows in North America. Seychelles needs to be consistently present in the marketplace, in order to be included in travel packages with other destinations in Africa & the Middle East.

As part of efforts to improve connection with North America’s travel trade, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) recently joined the United States Tour Operator Association, USTOA.

The STB Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis, has also highlighted the intention to seek further collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines in the near future, to support twin-center holiday packages targeting specifically the US market.