The Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Alain St.Ange, was invited to address a full ICC Durban Conference Room during the TAFI (Travel Agents Federation of India) Convention just before Minister Michael Mabuyakhulu, the Minister for Economic Development and Tourism of Kwazulu Natal, was due to deliver his own address.
The Seychelles Minister thanked the TAFI Convention for choosing Africa for this year’s conference. “Now that you are in South Africa, it is now expected that you will also look at the other countries that join together to make Africa the great continent it is. Here I need to say that this includes the islands of the Indian Ocean where the Seychelles sits. Africa has everything, and Africa is a destination in its own right,” the Seychelles Minister said.
Minister Alain St.Ange touched on air access which he said remained a challenge for Africa, and he went on to say that a direct flight to Durban from India would fly overhead the Seychelles which sits pretty at just four hours away from India and four hours from South Africa.
“Today I need to thank the Zwazulu Minister for Economic Development and Tourism for inviting me and Minister Dlamini, the Minister responsible for Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the Kingdom of Swaziland, for being with you as South Africa showcases itself to India. We came because we wanted to support your drive, and we came to also show that we stand with you, Kwazulu Natal of the great South Africa, as one of the many destinations that make Africa what it is. We all know that in unity we are strong, because all the unique attractions of Africa then become our very own attractions.”
In the interviews with different press personalities at ICC Durban following his address, Minister St.Ange said that it was always important for not only the tourism sector to look at their industry with fresh eyes, but that it was even more important for the press and for the people of the respective countries to do the same. “The time has come to remove the old blinkers when our industry is being looked at,” the Seychelles Minister said.
“Tourism is a tough industry, it is not just an activity, and it is the responsibility for everyone to join together to consolidate that very volatile industry that can provide jobs for our people and put money in the pockets of our people. Every single person can destroy his country’s tourism industry by being negative and acting irresponsibly towards it, but then they will be remembered for having shattered the lives of their own country men and women,” the Minister said.
Alain St.Ange, the Minister from Seychelles, went on to say that the success of Seychelles today is the ability of its Tourism Board to continuously reposition Seychelles to ensure that it remains relevant as a destination for the discerning traveler. Seychelles has been able to move when the time was right to embrace real possibilities and not be stuck on probabilities.
This is exactly why the President of the Seychelles, Mr. James Michel, launched the “Seychelles Brand of Tourism” a couple of years ago. The Seychelles President had realized that as the world economies converged, a greater variety of people would be traveling the world. Seychelles then embarked on the task of getting its people to be more involved in the industry that remained the pillar of the Seychelles economy as Seychelles moved to stop selling itself just as a sand, sea, and sun destination even though it is known that Seychelles has the best in clean and clear turquoise blue seas, the best in clean and white sandy beaches, and a weather pattern that had brought connotation that these mid-ocean islands were the land of perpetual summer. “Our President had decided that we should move to become an events-based destination and to use our diverse culture and our people as core marketing USPs [Unique Selling Points],” Minister St.Ange from Seychelles said.
Today Seychelles has a successful tourism industry and is a far cry from what it was but three years ago when the decision was made to reposition the islands in the world of tourism.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).