Seychelles Ocean Festival is held every year during the month of December. A celebration of Seychelles’ amazing marine heritage, the week-long event aims to involve everyone in activities that make Seychelles the premier destination for the ultimate marine experience. The SOF replaces Sub Indian Ocean Seychelles - known as SUBIOS - in the national calendar of events as the country's leading marine celebration.
When SUBIOS began in 1990, it focused on raising Seychelles' profile as a diving haven, using underwater film and video competitions, talks by internationally renowned celebrities and film shows to attract visitors. The Seychelles Ocean Festival has broadened the event’s appeal further by including all marine sectors.
The SOF continues to promote Seychelles as a diving location - including hosting its popular photography competition - but it is also liaising with dive centres, accommodation establishments and airlines to provide appealing dive packages for tourists during the festival.
The inaugural Seychelles Ocean Festival took place in December 2016, when the programme included an opening ceremony and photographic exhibition in the capital, Victoria. Promoting various aspects of the islands' marine economy, it also highlighted the importance of Seychelles’ sailing and fishing sectors. Minister for Tourism Alain St Ange and Seychelles Tourism Board chief executive Sherin Francis addressed the audience and launched the new Seychelles Ocean Festival website to celebrate the new beginning.
Chief executive of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Mario Hardy, also gave a presentation, as did the Seychelles Sport Fishing Club's representative, Grant Heyer. Among the entertainment was a photographic exhibition displaying rare and fascinating old photographs of Seychelles' marine heritage.
A coordinated programme of activities will take place throughout the week at the 2017 festival, focusing on Mahé island. Bringing hotels on board with events such as sea-food evenings, film shows and maritime-themed entertainment, this year’s festival runs from 1st to 9th December.
The new SOF is building on the legacy founded by SUBIOS. In keeping with tradition, many tourism establishments will host their own events and diving holidays are on offer through hotels and dive centres. At the first SOF in 2016, a family fun day at Anse Royale attracted hundreds of people to enjoy snorkelling, boat rides, canoeing, intro dives, an underwater treasure hunt and plenty of fun games.
Live music was provided by The Horizons and many marine-themed food stalls kept the revellers well-fed with delicious local cuisine. There was also a sporting side to the activities, with the festival triathlon, volleyball and football competitions and Iron Man and Iron Woman endurance events.
Schools and non-profit organisations are traditionally invited to take part in the SOF to involve all sections of the local community, as well as tourists. The intention is for the Seychelles Ocean Festival to broaden SUBIOS' appeal by offering a wider choice of marine activities to make Seychelles the best place in the world to visit.
If you're planning to visit the Seychelles Ocean Festival and wish to stay at a luxury hotel, Savoy Resort and Spa on beautiful Beau Vallon Beach is unequivocally the most awe-inspiring location.