Mauritian contacts ‘very positive’, says tourism minister


Minister St Ange

With the Mauritian Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Micheal Sik Yuen, talks focussed on the Iles Vanille concept, where the two countries along with Reunion aim at getting the three Indian Ocean destinations to work together in promoting tourism to benefit the region.

Mr Sik Yuen has accepted an invitation to the three-island meeting to be held in April in Victoria.
He has also agreed that Mauritius will be a co-organiser of the 2013 Carnaval International de Victoria. It will be recalled that the event held last month had a significant involvement from Reunion.
This was confirmed during talks with the Mauritian Minister for Arts and Culture, Mukeshwar Choonee, who has been to Seychelles several times for the Festival Kreol.

Talks were also held with the Minister for Fisheries, Nicolas Von Mally, who hails from the Mauritius’ island dependency of Rodrigues.

Rodrigues, Mr St Ange noted, has a lot in common with Seychelles and is already twinned with La Digue. Within this context, Mr Von Mally who has also been to Seychelles on a few occasions, has promised to push for Rodrigues to send a delegation to the Lafet La Digue on August 15.

Mr St Ange noted that such bilateral relations must be followed up continuously otherwise they eventually come to a dead end.

The visit to Mauritius of Seychelles’ Tourism and Culture Minister and the STB head, following barely two weeks after the state visit by President James Michel, clearly generated a lot of interest in the press and was featured on TV, radio and newspapers. Some of these media, such as Le Défi Quotidien was present for last month’s carnival and covered the bilateral talks rather extensively.

The visit coincided with the meeting of tourism ministers of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and its marketing body, the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa) which binds together 14 fascinating countries of the southern part of Africa.

The Seychellois delegation met the tourism ministers from South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana who confirmed they are attending the Route Africa 2012 meeting scheduled here for July 8-10, whose main objective is to create the necessary synergy for improved air access within Africa and beyond.

“Constant visibility is important,” said Mr St Ange who noted that this is the first time that such an event is being held in Eastern Africa or the Indian Ocean.

Turning to the launch of flights to Seychelles last Sunday by Ethiopian Airways, Mr St Ange said this has rendered Seychelles more accessible than before. “We are now just one stop from anywhere.”

Ms Grandcourt said that Seychelles can expect a tourism boost from the US. She noted that Ethiopian Airlines has been marketing Seychelles rather heavily in the US, where the cliché has been ‘See Africa and Seychelles’.

It also appears that connectivity to and from Seychelles is better on the Ethiopian airline than most Gulf carriers.

Mr St Ange said that the lack of direct flights from Europe has meant a drop in visitor arrivals from France, Italy and UK.
But the shortfall has been offset by big increases in visitors from Russia, China and the Middle East.

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