I would never have expected that the “business” of carnival was in actuality a “rough and tumble” world of intrigue, intelligence gathering, and the like. So when our “hotline” at the “TODAY in Seychelles” newsroom went off and taking the information that was coming in, this reporter immediately leaped into the thick of it by heading straight for the strategy room of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) with its head office at Bel Ombre.
The information reaching us at that time, and now as of Saturday, May 26, 2012, known worldwide, went something like this: “A usually well-informed source from Mauritius has leaked a bombshell decision apparently taken by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority to copy cat the Seychelles success with the Carnaval International de Victoria and try [to] do their own rather than joining hands, as has been repeatedly offered to them, with Seychelles, La Reunion, and other Indian Ocean islands as partners for the next festival in 2013.”
And so the “buzz” within the strategy room of the STB was thick with smoke along with hair being pulled out from the roots as the information gleaned from operatives within Mauritius and from other information coming in from around the world was assessed and sent forward for immediate action.
What was known at that time within the STB halls, was that “a source from Port Louis, who admittedly is an ardent critic of ‘never answers a mail, ever,’ Mr. Karl Mootoosamy, when he questioned this apparent new twist in relations and said in an overnight mail commenting on the news, which he said he himself had not yet heard: ‘MTPA has been reeling from the success of Seychelles in the international arena. That is very evident, because Seychelles brought the media on their side, and I think there is a lot of bruised ego in our man here who finds it hard to see others succeed where he failed. The Seychelles success story is the story of a new partnership approach started when Mr. Alain came into the frame a few years ago. He pushed for cooperation as Vanilla Islands, he brought a new spotlight on Seychelles but also all the other Indian Ocean islands, and his team partnered very successfully with the media, the international airlines.’”
With this known, this reporter met with an STB official who would only say and off the record that the move by Mauritius was not totally unexpected and confirmed that as a whole, the idea and strategy behind Seychelles’ carnival now going into its third year, was a correct move by the Seychelles Tourism Board, citing improved arrival numbers, an increase in the international press for the Seychelles, more international conferences coming to the Seychelles as a result of the increased publicity, and the good news rolled on and on, this according to the STB source.
The source also confided that they, the STB, were quite confident that their 3rd edition would be even better, with more participants wanting to be a part of an event which played on the “uniqueness” of each participant, each adding their wealth of culture to the success of the Seychelles’ carnival.
It is understood that while the news coming from Mauritius is still fresh and being taking in with hesitation, many hoteliers and other travel-related businesses from Seychelles’ neighboring island state, are balking at the idea of a Mauritian carnival, especially when it is being learned that the entire cost for this attempt will be paid for by the Mauritian government. “This is an outrage. Our business is down, arrival numbers are being affected, and the best that they could come up [with] was this? Maybe we should, as a trade, be asking for advice now from the Seychelles Tourism Board,” one well-known Mauritian business personality said.
As for the Seychelles, who in July will be hosting the Routes Africa 2012 conference, the team at the Seychelles Tourism Board, along with the new Minister for Tourism and Culture, are busy, focused, and working at delivering to the Seychelles what is now being expected, and that is, continued success in a very competitive global, and as we now clearly note, regional competition as well.