The association of Indian Ocean ports held its annual general meeting last week in Beau Vallon Bay with participants from the Seychelles, Mauritius, Mayotte, Madagascar, La Reunion, and newly-admitted Comoros Islands. The meeting focused mainly on a new strategy to attract cruise tourism to this part of the Indian Ocean and to attract private yachts to sail the waters between the various islands.
In view of this, several initiatives were discussed during the meeting aimed at forming a joint promotional and sales force to attend international tourism trade shows, in particular those dedicated to cruise tourism, where an opportunity existed to not only attract new as well as repeat business, but also pass out information about the security situation in the Indian Ocean.
In the past, the area was hard hit by ocean terrorists who failed to capture any passenger liner and only managed to hijack cargo vessels traversing these waters. In this regard, closer cooperation between the affected islands was also requested by the participants when they urged their individual governments to work hand in hand with the international naval coalition to bring piracy under control and make the sea lanes safe again.
The meeting followed hot on the heels of a major European Union-initiated global conference in Victoria/Mahe on the security of the sea lanes, focused on bringing the Somali ocean terrorists to justice and eliminating the menace, which has become a severe economic and security threat to Indian Ocean shores and island countries from Kenya to Mozambique, from the Comoros to Madagascar, and from the Seychelles deep into the waters of the Indian subcontinent.