Seychelles to host travel and tourism mart in 2014


Mr Bhagirath and Minister St Ange meeting in Mauritius

This comes in the wake of the enthusiastic support that Seychelles and other Vanilla island member states of Reunion, Comoros, Mauritius and Mayotte provided to Madagascar for its International Tourism Trade Fair held at the end of May.

Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange, in the company of Derek Savy, the director of marketing for the Vanilla islands, met the IOR-ARC secretary general K.V. Bhagirath recently in Mauritius where the 19-nation group has its headquarters.

The IOR-ARC confirmed that the tourism ministers of its member states would come together in the tourism mart in Seychelles in 2014 to discuss how to strengthen and expand the region’s tourism industry.

This mart will not only open new avenues for our region but it will further strengthen and solidify the Vanilla islands organisation in its quest to generate more visibility and growth in tourism.

India, Bangladesh, Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Seychelles are members of the IOR-ARC set up in Mauritius in 1997. China, Japan, Egypt, France and Britain have the status of dialogue partners in the group.

The importance of the Indian Ocean, the world's third largest, as a trade corridor and energy highway is being seen as undeniable as it provides passage to half of the international container ships and more than 70 percent of crude and oil shipments. And the possibilities for tourism growth and expansion within our region are massive.

The association is conducting a tourism feasibility study in the region, the second phase of which will commence soon. This study will be vital for the proper planning and strategy formulation, aimed at mapping out the future development of this vital sector within our region.

During the meeting, the secretary general and the minister also discussed on strengthening cooperation between the IOR-ARC and the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands regional organisation, a group currently headed by Minister St Ange. The Seychelles minister was re-elected as the group’s President for a second term during the annual meeting in Madagascar on June 1 following a joint motion presented by La Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros and Mayotte for him to consider leading the organisation for a second year.