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Indian Ocean Tourism


St. Ange Indian Ocean report

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Alain St.Ange l eTN Ambassador  Feb 11, 2008

SEYCHELLES
SEYCHELLES LAUNCHES ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN ON CNN
The Seychelles Tourist Board (STB) has launched a three-month advertising campaign on CNN. Ms. Blaisila Hoffman, responsible for Marketing at the STB head office at Bel Ombre in Seychelles, said on national television that this campaign would bring the needed benefits to the country’s tourism industry. The destination adverts are meant to show the world that Seychelles is more than just pristine white sandy beaches. The campaign has been conceived by Ian Macateer’s Scotland-based company, The Union, and funding negotiated through trade partners Air Seychelles, Hilton-Northolme Resort & Spa, Banyan Tree Resort, Lemuria Hotel, Air France and Denis Island, the exclusive and private resort island. Ms. Hoffman said that these adverts, which center on single experiences, are more to do with emotion, to produce that “wow” effect and make a potential traveler feel what they will experience when they get to Seychelles. A total of 247 advertising slots have been contracted by Seychelles with CNN. The payment of the advertising campaign, valued at US $ 200,000 has been agreed on a 100 percent Barter Exchange.

MAURICE LOUSTAU-LALANNE, THE SEYCHELLES TOURIST BOARD CHAIRMAN & C.E.O. GETS MORE OFFICIAL RESPONSIBILITIES
The chairman and chief executive officer of the Seychelles Tourist Board (STB), Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, has been appointed to also head the new Seychelles Medical Advisory Board with many medical professional representatives as his board members. This new responsibility gives him, in an advisory capacity, the Seychelles hospitals, emergency clinics and all the country’s district clinics. The new appointment comes over and above Mr. Loustau-Lalanne’s other responsibilities. He is also currently the chairman of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), chairman of the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), chairman of the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF), which is responsible for the UNESCO Heritage sites of Aldabra Atoll and of the Vallee de Mai Reserve of Praslin Island, chairman of the advisory board of the Seychelles Tourism Association, member of the Board of Air Seychelles and member of the Board of the Environment Trust Fund.

GERARD LAFORTUNE, THE PRINCIPLE SECRETARY FOR TRANSPORT RESIGNS
The Head of the Ministry of Transport, Mr. Gerard Lafortune has tendered his resignation from a long career in the Civil Service. Mr Lafortune was previously also the Principal Secretary for Tourism and for Civil Aviation. Mr Lafortune will be going into private business.

AIR SEYCHELLES FORCED TO CHARTER PLANES TO MAINTAIN SERVICE
Air Seychelles’ planes suffered two successive accidents on the ground during the last festive season. The first accident happened on Christmas Eve at Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport when one of its Boeing 767 was severely damaged while being pushed back on the runway prior to take-off. This collision due to a fault of its handling agents caused several punctures to the underside of the plane at the rear. An Airline Spokesman has said that the plane will take between 2 to 3 months to repair. A plane hired to replace the damaged jet had to be grounded after just two trips when a bird was sucked into one of its engines prior to take-off in Johannesburg in South Africa. Air Seychelles has since hired a Boeing 747 with 400 seats which has already started operating on the London route and has also hired a Blue Panorama Airlines Boeing 757 from Italy with 196 seats to serve its regional routes. South Africa, Singapore, Thailand and Mauritius are the routes being served by the Blue Panorama Airlines. The delays experience by Air Seychelles passengers following the two accidents have now been sorted out and flights are back on schedule. Capt. David Savy, chairman and CEO of Air Seychelles has said that the two successive accidents could cost the Company between $6 to $10 million.

CASUARINA HOTEL BURNS DOWN DURING END OF YEAR FESTIVITIES
A small beach front hotel situated at Anse Aux Pins on the Island of Mahe, the Casuarina Beach, caught fire and its main hotel structure was completely burnt down during the end of year celebrations. The hotel has been a Seychellois owned and managed small hotel since it was originally set-up by Mr. & Mrs. Joe Monchougy in the 1970s. It was more recently the property of the Grandcourt Family and managed by Capt. Pierre Grandcourt. Mrs. Juliana Grandcourt of the tour operator Alke Viaggi of Italy was one of the major shareholders in this family owned and managed establishment. Casuarina Hotel was completely rented out to Season’s management company and was occupied by Malagasy nationals, all employees of that company.

SEYCHELLES TAXIS LOSE OUTIN EFFORTS TO IMPROVE TRAFFIC FLOW
The chairman of the Seychelles Taxi Association, Mr. Davidson Madeleine, has been surprised by the announcement on SBC by an official of the Land Transport Division that the taxi parking would be moved from the city’s main road on Independence Avenue to the adjacent Stadium Car Park. Mr. Madeleine claims that when he enquired about the move he was told that decision had been taken by the cabinet of ministers and he expressed the disappointment of his association’s members at the lack of consultation which they had been given to understand would take place before such decisions were taken. This move has been part of the Land Transport Division’s efforts to improve traffic flow in Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles and in its dealing with the parking spaces which has become the most critical issue. Taxi operators have lost their prime parking area in front of Barclays Bank with the opening of two lanes of traffic on Independence Avenue. Taxi drivers are asking for a drop-off and pick-up point on the main street where customers could queue up and taxis could pull in to drop-off and pick-up, but not to park.

‘SANKEN OVERSEAS’ WINS CONTRACT TO BUILD‘EPHILIA RESORT’
The Pakistani Construction Company, ‘Sanken Overseas’, has been awarded the building contract for the new Constance Hotels Seychelles Property ‘Ephilia Resort’ at Port Launay on the main island of Mahe. ‘Ephilia’, with its 225 villas and suites is set to become the largest resort in the Seychelles. It will take up 129 hectare (275 acre) of which 20 percentis marshland, the largest wetland area on Mahe. The Pakistani Construction Company is already on site carrying out initial clearing and demarcation works, and construction material is being accumulated on the Port Launay Site. It is believed that 80 of the 800 expatriate construction staff of the ‘Sanken Overseas’ Company have already arrived in Seychelles. The building of the ‘Ephilia Resort’ is set to take two years. Access to the popular Port Launay Beach has attracted the attention of the public especially after the promoters of the project gave no commitment about public access at a public meeting and after they had ruled out any picnics on the beach once the resort has opened. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project published last year did not provide for beach access. Access to Beaches was the topic for a televised ‘Face a Face’ program where the ruling and opposition parties and government officials, inclusive of Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the chairman and CEO of the Seychelles Tourist Board (STB) all agreed that investors would need to respect the right for access by the public to beaches. The developers of ‘Ephilia Resort’ already own and operate the ‘Lemuria Resort’ on the island of Praslin and the Beach Access Issue has been an annoying concern for the Praslin residents. Mr. Patrick Lablache, a Senior Government Official has said on national Television that public access was in place at Lemuria Resort but when the Golf Course was built the public access was removed. ‘Keep Out’ Notice has already appeared as preparations for the building works started and no other Beach Access was designated.

NON-SCHEDULED FLIGHTS UP BY 20 PERCENT & VISITOR ARRIVALS UP 15 PERCENT
Seychelles has recorded a marked increased in the landings of Non-Scheduled Flights said Mr. Colin Chang-Tave, the airport manager for Air-Side Operations. The year 2007 saw 815 movements at Seychelles International airport by private and chartered aircrafts compared with 683 the year before. This announcement of the increase in landings of private and chartered aircrafts coincided with the new released visitor arrival figures which showed 161,273 tourists landing in Seychelles in 2007. This figure was a 15 percent over the previous year’s figures. France remained main market for Seychelles followed by Italy.

MAURITIUS
MAURITIUS EXPECTS ITS 2007 ARRIVAL FIGURES TO BE 900,000
The Mauritian Government expects the final figures for visitor arrivals in the year 2007 to be 900,000 – a big increase from the 2006 figures of 788,276 in visitor arrivals. The Mauritian minister for tourism, Mr. Xavier-Luc Duval said that the increase in visitor arrivals was due to the government’s policy of liberalized air access, their marketing effort and the good reputation of Mauritius. The aim for Mauritius is to now receive two million tourists by 2015. The tourism minister noted the potential and growing markets in Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Western Europe. Mauritius has seen the arrival of the following new airlines since the introduction of their new air access policy--Corsair, Comair, Eurofly, Virgin and Qatar Airways. Mauritius, it is said, needs to double the number of hotel rooms it presently holds to meet the increased demand. In the year 2007, Mauritius Tourism earned 32.2 billion Mauritius rupees, according to their Central Bank records.

MAURITIUS SUN RESORTS LIMITED GETS $75 MILLION
FROM KERZNER INTERNATIONAL IN FULL & FINAL AGREEMENT
The Mauritian Hotel Company Sun Resorts Limited lost its St Geran Hotel to the One & Only Hotel Group owned by the South African Company, Kerzner International, but got paid $75 million in the deal to finally separate the two Hotel Companies. The value of the St Geran Hotel was agreed at $84 million, and Sun Resorts Limited also agreed to pay $44.7 million to buy back the 20.3 percent of its equity held by the South African Group, Kerzner International. This deal also means that the four properties managed by the One & Only Group: La Pirogue, Sugar Beach, Coco Beach and Touessrok now form part of the Sun Resorts Group. It is believed that Sun Resorts Limited also wants to acquire from Kerzner International their Paris Based Tour Operator, Solea Vacances and their South African Based World Leisure Holidays.

MAURITIAN MP & MAYOR FACE CORRUPTION CHARGES
The Mauritius Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) has recommended that Opposition Movement Militant Mauricien (MMM) MP Ajay Gunness and the Ruling Labor Party Mayor for Quatre-Bornes, Mr. Roshan Seetohul be prosecuted for traffic of influence. Mr. Gunness, who was minister for Works and Public Infrastructure in the previous MSM-MMM government, is accused of having awarded the contract for the renovation of his offices to a construction company he owns. Mayor Seetohul, on his part is accused of having given a stall in the “Foire de Quatre-Bornes” to his wife after he was elected mayor in 2005. Mr. Roshan Seetohul has already bowed to pressure from the Labor Party and has resigned from his position. It is believed that the opposition MP may well tender his resignation as well according to the Mauritian press.

THE ISLAND OF ‘AGALEGA’ FINALLY HAS A SECONDARY SCHOOL
‘Agalega’, the island dependency of Mauritius which used to have just a small primary school for children of residents, is this year offering full secondary education. Desks, blackboards and computers were shipped to ‘Agalega’ Island aboard the coastguard vessel “Dormier” and teachers have been recruited on a one year contract. They have been lured by a 50 percent allowance on top of their existing salaries and will benefit of free housing. Students from ‘Agalega’ were previously compelled to follow their secondary studies on the mainland Mauritius.

MAURITIUS EXPORTING MORE TUNA TO THE UNITED KINGDOM
The Mauritius Industrial Fisheries has taken a very promising turn with exports of fish and fish products totaling euros 100 million by September of last year, a figure which showed a 17 percent increase compared with the 2006 figures. Fish export now makes up 15 percent of the Mauritius exports compared with textiles, which is still top at 65 percent. Mr. Evert Liewes of Prince Tuna Mauritius was quoted as saying that tuna fishing, one of their important exports to the United Kingdom, was becoming a costly venture as prices of the fish had soared. He said that climate change had driven tuna deeper, doubling fish prices for food processors.

‘SHANTI ANANDA’ CALLED THE MOST HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY
Mauritius’ Shati Ananda managed by Alan Stocker has been called, by the Tatler, prestigious magazine, as the most heavenly hideaway in the world. This resort has set itself as the place to find oneself. Set in a 14 hectares of tropical grounds it provides a spiritual adventure in a spectacular surrounding. Personalised programs are worked out for each guest to find the best balance between the body and the mind. The Spa of the complex is set in a tropical forest surrounded by water.

RODRIGUES ISLAND CALLED “ANTI-STRESS ISLAND”
The Mauritian Island of Rodrigues has been called the anti stress island by the Belgium Magazine ‘Voyages, voyages’. Rodrigues is the sister island of Mauritius and has maintained life as it was with little of what is often referred to as commercialization. Belgian journalists Benjamin Adier and Gael Clouzard have brought the island to the Belgium public through the article published with pictures taken by Mauritian photographer Joey Nictes Modeste in the last issue of ‘Voyages, voyages’. The article calls Rodrigues as “sauvage, authentique et hors norme.” Rodrigues has some 38000 inhabitants and receives annually some 55,000 visitors.

MAURITIAN RAVIN UNTHIAH IS THE NEW GM OF
THE PLANTATION RESORT & SPA
The Mauritian National, Ravin Unthiah has been appointed to head the Plantation Resort & Spa of the Apavou Group. He is 38 years old and had worked his way up in different Mauritius establishments before being appointed general manager of the White Sand Resort & Spa in the Maldives. Mr. Unthiah was elected manager of the Year 2002 by the Mauritius Quality Institute and last year he received the medal “Officer of the Star & Key of the Indian Ocean” from the Mauritius government for his contribution to the tourism industry.

MADAGASCAR
ETHANOL FUEL FACTORY TO BE LAUNCHED SOON
The Company ‘Jason World Energy’ is now set to start work on the factory that will become Madagascar’s First Ethanol Fuel Plant. The company has only recently received its environment permit to set up a factory near to the Town of Mahajunga for an annual production of over 28 million liters of ethanol fuel. It is planned to import the required molasses for the initial phase of the project and then to move to using the sugar cane from Madagascar itself.

AIR MADAGASCAR
The national airline of Madagascar needs to replace its Boeing 767 before its contract expires in February and the renting company had now been wanting to renew the existing contract agreement. The airlines two senior managers, commercial and financial were removed from their positions in August last year and they were the two people most involved with the agreements concerning this contract and the departure of Ulrich Link, its general manager in October last year only made matters worse.

FRENCHMAN PRINTS MALAGASY PRESIDENTIAL DIARY
Laurent Rizzo’s ‘Fabrication Edition Communication-Madagascar’ won a five-year contract to publish the Malagasy Presidential Diary starting in 2009. The 49 year old Frenchman will publish personalised diaries that will be paid for through advertising. The number of diaries to be printed are 1000 out of which 800 will be handed over to the head of state and the remaining two hundred given to the advertisers sponsoring the diaries. Mr Rizzo owns the ‘France Europe Conseil’ (FEC), the parent company of his Madagascar Company. He also owns the local television company NeoTv.

RAZAFY-ANDRIAMIHAINGO IS NEW AMBASSADOR IN ITALY
AND RAJAONARIVONY IN FRANCE
Madagascar has named new ambassadors for Italy and France. The former ambassador based in France, Mr. Jean-Pierre Razafy-Andriamihaingo has been moved to Italy and Mr. Narisoa Rajaonarivony, the economic advisor of the Madagascar Embassy in the United Kingdom has been moved to France. Mr. Rajaonarivony was the deputy prime minister of Madagascar between February to October 2002 and then Ambassador based in the United States of America.

LA REUNION
CATOVAIR BECOMES AIR MASCAREIGNES
Air Austral from La Reunion has purchased 49 percent shares of Catovair which was fully owned by the Mauritian Company Ireland Blyth (IBL)and the named has changed to Air Mascareignes. Mr. Gerard Etheve, the director of Air Austral, has said that in the immediate future the renamed airline will be Mauritius / La Reunion and Mauritius / Rodrigues routes but that they would then look at the possibility to develop routes to the Seychelles, South Africa and maybe even to Asia. It is felt that the support of Air Austral will help Air Mascareignes in its regional ambitions. Catorair was launched in 2005 to serve the Mauritius / Rodrigues route and then extended its service to La Reunion. It stopped its operations in June 2007 after losses of 200 million Mauritian rupees.

St. Ange Indian Ocean report



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