The tropical islands of the Seychelles enjoyed Saturday, September 24, 2011 with the Seychelles Ball, which took place at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino. The Seychelles Ball, which was previously named the Tourism Ball, had been organized by the Seychelles Tourism Board as part of the 2011 World Tourism Day celebration, which this year the islands is marking the event with a whole week of activities. World Tourism Day, which this year is being celebrated under the theme “Tourism – Linking Cultures,” is marked annually on September 27 by the UN World Tourism Organization
The Seychelles Ball had been set as the most important event on the country’s Tourism Week program and as the platform for government officials and tourism stakeholders to mingle and network in an atmosphere of conviviality. This year’s ball was attended by the former Seychelles President, Sir James Mancham; Vice President of Seychelles, Mr. Danny Faure; ministers; and government officials; as well as individuals from the private sector, members of the Seychelles Tourism and Hospitality Association, members of the tourism industry, and partners of the industry. Also present at the ball was the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Alain St.Ange, and his deputy, Elsia Grandcourt, along with their staff.
On arrival, guests were treated to a red-carpet welcome, where guests walked in with glitz and glamour. The Seychelles Ball, having gathered members of the trade and its stakeholders along with government officials and representatives, presented the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Chief Executive with the perfect stage to make key announcements in tourism.
At the opening of the evening, Mr. St.Ange made the announcements that two new airlines – Etihad and Ethiopian – are set to start their operations to Seychelles in early November, while the Seychelles national airline – Air Seychelles – has confirmed that it is keeping its London flights. Mr. St.Ange said that Etihad airline will be flying to the Seychelles islands four times weekly, while the Ethiopian airline will help link Seychelles to the African region, as well as UK and other European countries.
“Seychelles has made significant achievement during its 40 years of tourism; however, there are challenges that we need to overcome in order for us to further consolidate our tourism industry. The Seychelles Tourism Board on its part will continue to work closely with the private sector so as to overcome these challenges whilst safeguarding the image of Seychelles,“ added Mr. St.Ange.
Also speaking at the event, the Seychelles Vice President, Mr. Danny Faure said that the tourism industry continues to be an important revenue generator, offering a variety of employment and investment opportunities.
“Let us continue to put Seychelles first to maintain the industry’s dynamism to be a model to the world, and in the process, winning for our small nation,” emphasized Vice President Faure.
The Seychelles Vice President wish the island’s tourism industry players and all staff employed in the industry a Happy Tourism Day 2011.
Following the Vice President’s address, Mr. St.Ange spoke about the re-launching of the Miss Seychelles beauty pageant, which has been dormant since 2008. “Miss Seychelles will make its comeback next year in July, and the Seychelles Tourism Board, as the new organizer of the event, intends on giving fresh impetus to the beauty pageant,” said Mr. St.Ange.
He added that the winning beauty queen will be the face of Seychelles, accompanying the Seychelles Tourism Board to major international trade fairs and other official visits. The evening also saw the unveiling of the Miss Seychelles 2012 poster by Mr. St.Ange, after which 14-year-old Daryl Joubert of the Anse Boileau Secondary School was announced winner of the Tourism Board’s photography competition that was launched earlier this year on the occasion of the island’s 40 year anniversary of tourism. The competition was being held for school children between the ages of 12 and 16 years, under the theme “Pictures of Seychelles … to make you dream.” The talented Daryl was presented with his prize of SCR 10,000, sponsored by the Seychelles Tourism Ambassador in Zambia, Mr. Jimmy Butt who during the ball made a surprise donation of SCR 20,000 to the Seychelles Tourism Board for the Miss Seychelles 2012 event.
Ken Choo, the General Manager of the Berjaya Beau Vallon Beach Resort & Casino, and the hosts for the Seychelles Ball 2011, took the podium to thank everyone present for their support. He said:
“Tourism Week started yesterday with Creole Travel Services organizing a wonderful Cocktail at Cap Lazare Restaurant. Today, it is Berjaya’s turn to host an event for Tourism Week, and I welcome you all. Tonight, we have in house not only every mover and shaker in our industry, but also every ministry of the Seychelles government. This active partnership between government and private sector is critical as we face the many challenges in this global industry. We welcome that strong and sincere partnership, and we intend to see it develop.
“With tourism arrivals improving, it shows that together we have indeed moved on the right path. Let us continue to do so. I have no doubt that as the Seychelles economy improves, so will we. Ladies and gentleman, one thing is for sure, with a full house tonight, it shows that the tourism industry remains united, and we shall remain united for years to come.
“In October, Seychelles shall celebrate Creole Festival 2011. Culture tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing segment[s] of our tourism industry. As tourism and culture comes together, Berjaya is proud to host this year’s Fon Lamal event on October 28. This event is an opportunity for us in tourism to showcase the unique Seychelles culture to the world. Seychelles culture is an asset of the Seychellois people.”
“I would like to call Minister Shamlaye, the Minister for Culture, to accept a small contribution of SR75,000 from our hotel from our Sales Manager, Ms. Erica. Let us together toast for the brighter future for our industry and to [a] brighter future for Seychelles. Cheers … in Chinese “yam seng.” Thank you and enjoy your evening with us.”
Louis D’Offay, the Chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association, also took to the podium to wish Seychelles a happy Tourism Day and to table points for consideration by the government. “I cannot miss this golden opportunity and feel it is my duty to firstly thank the government for the confidence they have in our industry and for standing with our industry, but I need on behalf of our association’s members [to] say that we need to do more to ensure our industry continues to succeed,” said Mr. D’Offay.
After the announcements, guests at the ball enjoyed a variety of Creole and Asian buffet, after which they danced the night away with entertainment from local bands Fame and Zenith.