At the opening of the Seychelles Tourism Board annual marketing conference last week an event caught this correspondent’s eye and prompted some added fact finding.
It was noted that the panel, which was graced by the presence of both President James Michel and Vice President and Minister for Tourism Joseph Belmont, did not include the chairman of the Tourist Board, who visibly relegated sat at the front row of the visitor section in the conference center, although the chairman of the Seychelles Hotel and Tourism Association, Mr. Louis D’Offay, the executive chairman of Air Seychelles, Capt. Savy, and the director of tourism marketing at STB, Mr. Alain St. Ange, were on the panel table.
The address of the chairman of the Seychelles private sector association referred to further changes needed, in addition to the restructuring a year ago, which saw four members from the private sector join three public sector members on the newly-appointed board, at which time the chairman of STB was also appointed by government. This now appears as the clearest signal yet, supported by a wide range of sentiments of other leading private sector representatives at the conference, that this was an open reference to have the chairman elected by members of the board, rather than appointed by government, to ensure continued success by STB as seen over the past one year.
The turnaround of initial projections for the Seychelles was a drop as bad of as 20 percent in a worst case scenario for 2009, and yet the new cooperation between all parties in private and public sector was generating such a positive impact that arrivals were just marginally lower at the end of 2009 compared to the year prior.
None of those interviewed would, however, be drawn into speculations over the future of the chairmanship of STB, but as often it was what was NOT said, rather than what was said, which gave a very clear indication that added changes are on the way.
It was also learned that the new tourist board has been nominated as “best tourist board in Africa” for the annual “The Good Safari Guide” awards, and when those results are announced, it is hoped that STB can claim the top spot in recognition of their extraordinary efforts and amazing achievements over the last year.