The Seychelles Tourist Board has confirmed to this correspondent that their planned ocean yacht regatta will go ahead between May 22-30, 2010 and that several top-rated skippers will participate in this annual event. The regatta course will be mapped out within the inner islands and can be watched by spectators using either vantage points like beaches or some of the mountains on the various islands, chartering their own boats, or using one of the helicopter services available from Mahe.
Meanwhile, the ongoing, and often biased and wrong reporting about pirate activities in the Indian Ocean, does not seem to have deterred the Seychelles from going out and promoting cruise tourism. A small, albeit powerful, delegation will attend the Seatrade Cruiseship Convention in Miami between March 16-18, which is taking place in the wake of ITB where the Seychelles Tourist Board and the destination management companies, aka tour operators, will undoubtedly already have prepared the way when talking to the cruise lines also present in Berlin. The partly-negative publicity over piracy has impacted undoubtedly on cruise tourism in the Indian Ocean region, and Mombasa for instance, has seen its share from cruise tourism arrivals halved over the past one-and-a-half years, as has Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
However, the Seychelles are not giving up on this lucrative market just yet, and with ever-increasing naval patrols along the major shipping lines and an apparently shifting mood towards a more robust forward engagement of the pirates when leaving Somali waters, there is hope that the whole of the region can benefit once more from increased port calls by ocean liners presently deployed elsewhere over such fears.
The Seychelles delegation will be joined by their colleagues from La Reunion, with whom they maintain close contacts and share common objectives in regard of cruise tourism and twin-center holidays. This move was inspired by the CEO of the Seychelles Port Authority who prevailed upon his colleagues of the Association of Indian Ocean Ports, some of whom had already signaled they would not go to Miami, only – like La Reunion – to change their minds when told that this attendance was needed to show the flag and tell the world that not all routes in the Indian Ocean are unsafe as portrayed in some of the global media.