The success of Routes Africa held in Seychelles in July saw the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture reposition Seychelles even more than it was before. This may seem difficult to believe as the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism has for the last couple of years but opened doors for the private sector of the islands and for the airlines serving the islands to reap the benefits of the increased visibility of these mid-ocean tropical islands.
Since the Routes Africa meeting in Seychelles, Minister Alain St.Ange has assumed the Presidency of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands. This regional grouping now comprises La Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mayotte, Comoros, Rodrigues of Mauritius, Praslin of Seychelles, Nosy Bay of Madagascar, and La Digue of Seychelles. Only two days ago, Minister St.Ange was seen addressing a press conference in La Reunion, flanked on each side by President Didier Robert of La Reunion and Minister Michael Sik Yuen of Mauritius. This press conference was to update the press on the now approved way forward for the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands.
Since the Routes Africa meeting last July, it has also been confirmed by Johnson Johnrose of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) from Bridgetown Barbados that Minister Alain St.Ange will lead a delegation to the Caribbean’s leading tourism gathering, the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference, in St. Kitts this October, where he is expected to play an active role in the Caribbean Tourism Organization conference as a presenter in a session entitled, “Redefining the Role of National Tourist Offices.”
The Caribbean Tourism Organization wrote in their press release to announce that Minister St.Ange would be flying to St. Kitts in the Caribbean that: “Minister St.Ange is well-known among tourism circles as a creative thinker and practitioner who is particularly skilled in helping to develop various countries’ tourism potential. We are happy to have him come and share his winning strategies with us,” said Hugh Riley, Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Secretary General.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization also said that Mr. St.Ange’s tourism initiatives, introduced during his tenure as CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, have been intensely studied by tourism officials around the African continent. He is also a sought-after presenter at global tourism conferences.
Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles is also a founding member of the ICTP (International Council of Tourism Partners) along with Juergen Steinmetz, Chairman of ICTP, and Professor Geoffrey Lipman, ICTP President, and in that capacity, he is also expected to be part of the discussion panel “Talk” at the Routes Abu Dhabi Forum. This session will be moderated by Professor Lipman and will have Minister Alain St.Ange, among other influential tourism and aviation experts, discuss the “New World – New Connectivity.” This session is already attracting attention, as it will explore the surge in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) markets and the global mega-hubs in the gulf, as well as the opportunities this presents.
Seychelles is also set to be part of Executive Board of the ICTP (International Council of Tourism Partners) in Indonesia where Minister Alain St.Ange has been invited to deliver a keynote address on “Carnival & Tourism – the success story from the Indian Ocean.” The Seychelles Minister’s address will follow one by Professor Lipman on “Quality & Green Growth.” This meeting is set to take place during the 2012 Karnival Wisata of Indonesia.
Visibility has been the key driving force behind the successes of the Seychelles tourism industry, now recording a remarkable increase in visitor arrival numbers on a year-to-date basis – a 6% increase over 2011. This comes even though the islands are suffering with important drops in arrival figures from France, Italy, and the UK ever since Air Seychelles dropped their nonstop direct flights from Europe. These markets are being closely monitored by tourism analysts, as the negative showings remain stagnant even though the islands are well served through the Middle East hubs through Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar.