Alain St. Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, who is in Germany for a week-long working visit has told the German press that the Seychelles is today a proven test case in what is considered “The World of Tourism.”
“We have a tourism industry that works, we have launched our own style of tourism we have called the ‘Seychelles Brand’ of tourism, we have managed to safe guard our environment at the same time as we moved our tourism industry forward, we have put into place structures to claim back our tourism industry for it to better benefit our people and the economy of our country,” said Alain St. Ange to the press in Frankfurt, Germany.
Seychelles is one of the very few countries who are members of the tourism bodies of UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization) and RETOSA (Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa) where tourism remains the pillar of its economy. This has made Seychelles innovative in its approach, and dynamic in its thinking. Seychelles is one of the founding members of the ICTP (International Council of Tourism Partners) and is working tirelessly with Juergen Steinmetz, Geoffrey Lipman, and others to prepare for the World Travel Market (WTM) November launch of that tourism grouping of succesful tourism destinations.
The change in the Seychelles outlook came some two years ago when the government of the Seychelles entered into a public-private sector partnership to manage its tourism industry. This saw the country’s President, Mr. James Michel, personally take over the portfolio of tourism, which gave him the opportunity to push through his own vision for the industry that remains without doubt the main pillar of the Seychelles economy. Following that move, Seychelles got Alain St. Ange appointed as the new head of its tourism industry and it has never looked back. Alain St. Ange came from the private sector, and he arrived with fresh ideas and with a burst of enthusiasm. Seychelles has since seen its visitor arrival numbers grow year after year even when the country’s main tourism markets were experiencing economic difficulties. Alain St. Ange, it is often explained, worked side by side with the Tourism Association of Seychelles, the SHTA, and as a united group they moved aside barriers that were seen as obstacles for the Seychelles tourism industry.
The Seychelles government have since moved to try to open their airspace and have also moved to strenghten their environment protection regulations. The Seychelles islands is today the only country to have over 50% of its total land area declared as protected nature reserves. The CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Alain St. Ange, explained to the press that the governnment of Seychelles and the people of the islands want to seen as serious custodians of their islands and of the unique environment they today enjoy. “We are lucky to be living on the world’s most beautiful islands, where the environment is pristine and enjoyable. We know that we neen to protect such a unique asset we have, this asset that is today attracting thousands of visitors to our mid-ocean islands,” Alain St.Ange said.
Seychelles is now saying that it is proud of its achievements in the field of tourism and in the protection of its spectacular environment. “We can today say that we are a proven test case in the world of tourism, and that leaders of the world should make time to visit and to see for themselves how tourism can be managed without it having to impact negatively on the environment. World leaders should see how one’s tourism industry can work for the benefit of their own people, and how the move by the Seychelles to claim back its own tourism industry, can and will, bring more Seychellois into the tourism-related businesses,” Alain St. Ange said.
The Seychelles Islands have been heard regularly since the last couple of years addressing international tourism-related forums. Alain St. Ange has been without doubt a popular and a sought-after speaker on the international tourism circuit, and he has never been shy about spelling out the steps taken by Seychelles to redress its own tourism industry and its economy.