Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands now under Mayotte leadership


The six islands of the Indian Ocean (Mayotte, Comoros, Madagascar, Reunion, Mauritius and Seychelles) launched a few years ago their new Tourism Region called the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands. The success of this spirit of togetherness can be seen in the increased number of cruises ships in the region and extended length of stay tied to the docks. This is bringing economic benefits to each of the islands and showcasing these islands as serious tourism players.

The Presidency of the Vanilla Islands is on a rotational basis between the six islands of the group. It was the Comoros who handed over the Vanilla islands Flag to Mayotte and, in so doing, the Presidency.

In the Ministerial Meeting of the Vanilla Islands held on the 8th February in Mayotte, the desire of the islands to continue to cooperate together as the Vanilla Islands was reinforced.

In his statement to show his commitment to the principles of the organisation launched in 2014, the new President Soibahadine IBRAHIM RAMADANI said, “I hope to consolidate on our successes and  also to reinforce the path laid out for our association. Cruise tourism will continue to be our priority. We have to accelerate our actions to be better prepared for the increased number of cruise ships through increased professionalism and through harmonising the offers between our island group.”

43000 cruise ship passengers were plying between the Vanilla Islands in 2017 and for the next term to 2020 a new target of 50000 cruise ship passengers has been set and this shows a 200% increase from 2014 when the region sat down to work together.

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.