Caribbean and Vanilla Islands cooperation discussion in Zambia

The sitting President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization is reaching out to the far away Caribbean Islands Tourism Organization (CTO).

Caribbean and Vanilla Islands cooperation discussion in Zambia

The sitting President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization is reaching out to the far away Caribbean Islands Tourism Organization (CTO). “Yes, CTO and the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization sit on the other side of the world from each other, but our challenges remain the same. We are all small island developing states vulnerable from climate change phenomena and dependent on availability of good, efficient, and regular air access, and need to meet as organizations and discuss joint actions to keep our respective islands relevant and visible,” the Seychelles Tourism Minister said to a Zambia press reporter at the UNWTO meeting.

Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, and currently the sitting President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization, accompanied by Pascal Viroleau, the CEO of the La Reunion Island Tourism (IRT), met Wykeham McNeill, the Minister for Tourism and Entertainment of Jamaica, and Stephen Cadiz, the Minister for Tourism of Trinidad & Tobago, using the UNWTO 20th General Assembly in Zambia and Zimbabwe to meet to discuss island grouping cooperation.

The Jamaican Minister has proposed that the group of tourism ministers attending WTM (World Travel Market) in London in November should make the effort to meet and discuss ways to develop an avenue for cooperation. This proposition was supported by the Minister from Trinidad & Tobago and by the Head of the La Reunion Island Tourism.

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Similar discussions were held with the PS of the Bahamas Tourism and with the Minister of Tourism of Madagascar.

In the meantime, the President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization has confirmed to Member States of the UNWTO that the next Ministerial Meeting of the Vanilla Islands is scheduled to take place on La Reunion Island on September 10. “This meeting will see for the first time representatives from Seychelles, La Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros, and Mayotte joined by Maldives, Rodrigues of Mauritius, Nosy Bay of Madagascar, Praslin of the Seychelles, and La Digue of the Seychelles,” Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles said.

The guiding vision for the sitting President of the Vanilla Islands is to get every island of the Indian Ocean together in the one grouping. “We need to work with our island brothers and sisters to take their USPs and make hem the region’s USPs. We need to develop cruise ship itineraries that will offer the diversity of this region which encompasses Africa, India, the IOC (Indian Ocean Commission) Islands, and Asia. We will be even more unique as a region when we work together as a region,” the Seychelles Minister St.Ange said.

Other islands sitting in the Indian Ocean are being invited to attend this coming Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization meeting in La Reunion. These may include the Mozambique Islands of Mozambique, Zanzibar of Tanzania, and Sri Lanka to name but a few. The Seychelles Minister last year attended and addressed the CTO (Caribbean Tourism Organization) General Assembly in St. Kitts & Nevis.

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