Seychelles officially launched the countdown of its “Carnaval International de Victoria” on January 20 at a ceremony at the International Conference Center in Victoria attended by Designated Minister Vincert Meriton and Ministers Peter Sinon (Investment, Natural Resources & Industry), Jean Paul Adam (Foreign Affairs), Erna Athanasius (Health), and members of the diplomatic cor, parliamentarians, senior civil servants, and the tourism private sector. This event was organized to set in motion the countdown to this major event in another two months (March 4-6).
The smallest capital of the world – Victoria – will come alive from the March 4-6 with several exciting activities and the actual carnival which is expected to see the participation of several countries and world organizations.
The launching ceremony of the countdown started with a welcoming speech by the Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, followed by the presentation of the carnival theme song, the carnival lottery, and pledging of financial from the sponsors.
The Seychelles carnival is being held under the theme, “The Melting Pot of Cultures,” which echoes the time when Seychelles first became a melting pot of different cultures when it was settled by people coming from the four corners of world.
During the three days of carnival celebrations in the Seychelles in March, Victoria, the Capital City of the island paradise, will revisit its multi-ethnic origins through floats from different countries and where different cultures will meet and be celebrated. An open-air restaurant is also on program, which will give visitors and residents the chance to savor different foods of the world.
Another activity – the family fun day – will cap the festive weekend of carnival where the Seychellois people would partake in a manifestation of events in Victoria. All floats will assemble in the Unity Stadium at Roche Caiman for viewing and picture taking. People will mingle with fellow visitors and enjoy themselves in various activities and entertainment.
As expected, Seychelles will add its own floats to the procession, featuring its many attributes and selling points as a tourism destination. The carnival is being seen as an excellent platform for the country to showcase its rich culture that makes the destination truly unique.
When launching the Seychelles Countdown ceremony, Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board and eTurboNews ambassador said:
“In 1971, Seychelles launched its tourism industry when our airport received the first BOAC VC 10 from London. In 1972, Mr. James Mancham, then Chief Minister, launched a Seychelles carnival to help propel the name Seychelles into the community of nations as THE newest holiday destination.
“Today virtually 40 years later, Seychelles is launching a new carnival. Today we are moving the Seychelles into the ‘World of Carnivals,’ because we have all said, at one point or another, that our country needs more visibility in not only our main markets, but also across the world, in every secondary and every potential market.
“Tourism has become one of the most competitive industries. As a country, we relaunched ourselves with our own brand of tourism, which we aptly called the ‘Seychelles Brand.’
“As a tourism industry, we know that our neighboring islands of Mauritius, for example, can be sold as being a green island because of its tropical vegetation, and the Maldives can, on its part, be sold as being a blue island, because of its blue and inviting seas. We know that we have more than them, because we have both the tropical green landscape and the turquoise blue seas accompanied by the world’s best white sandy beaches, diversity of people, diversity of cuisine, diversity of culture, diversity of islands, etc., etc.
“But our Seychelles brand of tourism says clearly that we are more than just sun, sea, and sand, because we are blessed with having more than just that.
“Our Seychelles brand of tourism also says that we need to increase the interaction between our visitors and our people. We are a country that is not shy of our main asset – our people and its culture – so we are moving to organize an event that retraces the settlement of our islands that makes us what we are today – the melting pot of cultures.
“We say we are retracing the settlement, because we have invited the community of nations to travel to Seychelles for this 2011 Carnival as our forefathers had done when they settled the Seychelles.
“Today, Seychelles and its tourism industry finds itself in the position that it is not launching its tourism industry, but instead that as a veteran tourism destination, it needs to be proactive to ensure that it gets its fair share of the potential tourism market.
“In March 2009, after the private sector was brought on board to lead the tourism industry, a three-pronged approach was announced. A first exercise was to reposition the country and to ensure it was regarded as a credible tourism destination. This has been done and delivered, and the results of last year speaks for itself.
“The second exercise announced that same March 2009 is for this year’s action plan, which needs to increase the visibility of the country. A lot is being done already to help Seychelles achieve this objective. From advertising in Cinema Theaters in key Paris venues to Open Air performances in Malls in South Africa, to being part of a Golf event in India, to a Millionaire’s Summit in Singapore and events in China, La Reunion, Tanzania, and Kenya.
“We also needed, as was announced at the launch of the Seychelles brand, for us to be event based. We, of course, have a series of events already and felt that a big event that propelled us into the talked about world of carnivals. Thus the launch today of the countdown to the 2011 Seychelles ‘Carnival International de Victoria.’
“Seychelles has a well integrated healthy society without the interracial, the interreligious differences of so many other destinations. We are truly that melting pot, thus the theme of our carnival, that brings about a unique harmony that is today an important USP for our country.
“How to covey all these attributes to the world? How to tell the world about the Seychelles islands, this idyllic group of islands where harmony is a way of life? How do we tell the world, that we are a refreshing model in an increasing violent world?
“We know that advertising is often out of our reach because of costs. We also know that adverts are not always heard and taken notice of, because it is only you saying what you want to say.
“But when we have an event that attracts the press from the community of nations, and that attracts participants from the world, we are better able to communicate to the outside world our harmony in the present climate where tourists fear more and more for their safety in other destinations.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the coming carnival is an emblem of our social integration. It shows the benefits of collaborating internationally. It demonstrates networking ideas, alliances, and synergies into a web of collaboration. With the coming carnival we shall be breaking down barriers of time, distance, and familiarity with each other’s culture, because this Seychelles event has a global approach to it.
“So today we are here to launch the countdown for the 4, 5, and 6 March Carnival. This carnival that will be showing us the way forward to solidarity, friendship, and integration as we celebrate 40 years of tourism.
“We say ‘Unite Seychelles’ behind this carnival as the world unites with us in our celebrations that has opened its doors to the community of nations.
“As we all say, we need visibility for our country, let us put our money where our mouth is. Let us rally and be united behind this national event.
“I will not go over the program because you all have a copy of the program with you. I want to instead thank those who have come forward to offer not only encouragement, but their help and assistance.
“So many are helping and so many have indicated that they will help. Your patriotism is appreciated and your assistance is highly valued.
“Who is coming, is the question so many are asking. Today, just today, we have confirmation that a Chinese delegation is coming, La Reunion will be here, Korea, Japan, South Africa with probably the biggest delegation, Zimbabwe, France, and the UK are those we can happily confirm. But there are more coming, and also we have international organizations who are taking up floats in this 2011 Carnival.
“Locally, the list is long, and business and tourism enterprises have come out of the woodwork and have confirmed floats. Seychelles is in for a pleasant surprise. The people of Seychelles are in for a time of their life.”