Tourism is the most important nongovernment sector of the Seychelles Economy. The various attractions in Seychelles that draw visitors by thousands to the islands every year are its pristine white beaches, multi-colored coral reef, deep-sea fishing experience, warm, year round sunshine, panoramic views and lush green mountains. All of these attributes are found on all the islands of the Seychelles, but some islands show off their qualities better than others. It is this thrilling adventure to discover the best of Seychelles that mesmerizes many tourists all year round.
The development of tourism into a major industry for the Seychelles resulted from a decision taken in the light of the need to diversify the economy from its near complete dependence on agriculture and fisheries. The decision resulted in the opening of the Seychelles International Airport on Mahe, which opened for its first scheduled service by Jet Aircraft on 4th July 1971. With only 3,175 visitors in 1971, the figure quickly exceeded the 100,000 mark for the first time in 1990.
The most recent statistics from the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics show that 174,529 visitors arrived in Seychelles during 2010. This marked an increase of 11% over 2009. Of the 174,529 visitors who arrived in Seychelles during 2010, 173,453 (99%) arrived by air.
The top 10 markets in 2010 were France, Italy, Germany, UK and Eire, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, UAE, Reunion, Mauritius.
Bringing in the biggest source of Foreign Currency into the country, in 2010 earnings from the tourism sector was R2,451 million.
Since travel and tourism touches all sectors of the economy, employment is estimated at 10,000 jobs in 2011, 20% of total employment.