Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu, the Minister for Economic Development & Tourism for the Kwazulu-Natal Provincial Government of South Africa and Mr. Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, stood one after the other in the iconic Moses Madiba Stadium in Durban to address tourism Industry partners as the 2013 TAFI (Travel Agents Federation of India) Convention.
The main playing field of the iconic Durban Moses Madiba Stadium had been transformed into an entertainment center with a difference with the whole stadium as the backdrop. With a full grand stand the honor went to the two Ministers to address the gathered tourism industry from a podium on the field of the Stadium itself.
Minister Mabuyakhulu of South Africa was speaking as the Host Country and he said that he hope all delegates saw the warm hospitality of South Africa. The South African Minister talked about the many attributes of Africa as a tourism destination in its own right. Minister Mabuyakhulu said that the presence of two African Ministers in Durban for the TAFI Conference demonstrated the solidarity of Africa for Africa. He thanked India for having chosen South Africa for this year’s TAFI Convention.
When he took to the podium, Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles said that it was with emotion that he accepts to deliver an address from the main playing field of the grand and the iconic Durban Moses Madiba Stadium. “We normally see this stadium with Bafana Bafana playing on it, and we saw it in full use during the last FIFA World Cup. Today I stand here with a lot of emotion to address you all,” the Seychelles Minister said.
Minister St.Ange went on to say that he was on the podium to say thank you to South Africa, and to Kwazulu Natal for having invited Republic of Seychelles, and the Kingdom of Swaziland both represented in Durban by their Ministers for Tourism and Mozambique and Zimbabwe who are both represented by their Tourism CEOs. “We were here to show our support and commitment for South Africa, and we were also here to say to India and to the world that we are also Africa. It is often forgotten how diverse Africa is, we have everything in this great Africa of ours, including the mid ocean beautiful islands of the Seychelles,” Minister St.Ange said.
The Seychelles Minister went on to spell out tourism events of Africa saying that annually the tourism world gathers in Durban in May for the annual INDABA Tourism Trade Fair. “This gathering is the biggest tourism trade fair of Africa and this is where Africa gathers to work with their tour operator partners year after year. We hope that the India delegation here today will be back for INDABA 2013 in May,” he said.
Minister St.Ange then explained the annual Carnaval International de Victoria which takes place in April in the Seychelles. “This is another tourism event of Africa. It is here that countries of Africa get together to showcase their culture and people to the world. It is at this annual carnival that cultural troupes from the Community of Nations join the best and the most known carnivals and parade together along the Main Street of Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles,” the Minister from the Seychelles said.
Before ending his address Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles said that tourism remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy. “This is why we remain always proactive in the field of tourism. Today I am happy to confirm that Seychelles is a candidate for the 2013 UNWTO Executive Council elections that will take place in August in Zambia and Zimbabwe. We appeal to all African Ministers to support our bid to ensure that together we take African tourism a step further on the world stage,” the Seychelles Minister said.
The President and Vice Chairman of TAFI also used that evening to present to Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles and to Minister Mduduzi Small Joe Dlamini of the Kingdom of Swaziland a TAFI souvenir for their support for the 2013 TAFI convention.
The Seychelles Minister told the gathered press at the iconic Moses Madiba Stadium in Durban that Durban and South Africa have made this working visit more beneficial than they could have ever expected. “Visibility was just great for Seychelles,” Minister St.Ange said.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).
PHOTO: Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu from Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa and Minister Alain St.Ange from Seychelles delivering their address in the iconic Moses Madiba Stadium in Durban