Seychelles’ tourism festival starts on September 27 |21 September 2021
The annual tourism festival is set to be held next week between September 27 and October 3 under the theme ‘Shaping Our Future’, the principal secretary for tourism, Sherin Francis for tourism yesterday.
The week-long festival commemorates the international observance of the World Tourism Day on September 27, which is this year celebrating the wider theme of ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’.
Although jam-packed with activities, the tourism festival will be a more sombre festival compared to the pre-Covid years, with most events being organised and relayed via social media platforms and traditional media outlets such as TV.
The only activity that will be open for the general public will be the food fiesta.
“Unfortunately we will not have a lot of popular public events because we have to be mindful that we are still in a public health crisis. The only activity that people will be able to participate in will be the food fiesta ‒ it will not be the habitual food fiesta at Beau Vallon but it will be hosted at different hotels which we will publish on social media.”
“This year’s local theme links with the WTO’s ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’. The reason why we chose the theme ‘Shaping Our Future’ is because we have been through a very tough period, the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is opportune for us to now be looking at new ways of doing things,” explained PS Francis.
Mrs Francis explained that the tourism department is presently hands deep in revisiting its tourism strategies to diversify tourism products and services that could provide further boost to the industry and set Seychelles apart from other destinations.
A key element in this diversification will be community or cultural tourism whereby visitors will have the opportunity to fully experience the local culture.
“We have already started an audit in districts, starting with Beau Vallon and moving district to district ‒ to identify interesting personalities we can link with visitors to create the experience. For example, we can teach them how to do local crafts, traditional dance and local dishes but the festival will be an opportune time to engage the public in discussing and talking about how we want to see our tourism industry going forward.”
Some of the new activities for this year’ tourism festival includes episodes of kids interviewing key persons in the tourism industry, such as PS Francis, and this will be available to stream on the Seychelles Islands’ official YouTube page.
PS Francis noted that this particular activity epitomises this year’s theme since children, as the future workers and policy makers, have to start engaging and understating the tourism industry.
“New on our programme this year is a tree planting initiative which is very fitting with the theme because we cannot talk about climate change when we talk about the future. There is a new terminology called ‘flight shame’ which is gathering momentum globally and if this really happens, it will affect travels to destinations like Seychelles.”
“Planting a tree directly links to mitigating impacts of climate change and it will speak volumes for us as a destination if all of us individually, be it as a family or organisation, participate in this activity on October 2 and post your activity on social media with a hashtag.”
The hashtag chosen for the activity is #seychellestreeplanters.
On the same day, October 2, the department of tourism will also be involved in cleanup activities at Ros Sodyer, a famous tourist hotspot in south Mahe.
Also a first for the festival is a webinar hosted by the Seychelles Tourism Academy on September 27 to showcase what the academy has to offer.
The tourism department is further launching a photography competition on October 1.
The programme will also consist of customary events in the likes of the unveiling of plaques to honour tourism pioneers, traditional welcome of visitors on the airports on Mahe and Praslin as well as on the La Digue jetty, a panel discussion which will be broadcasted on Facebook, and the World Tourism Day message by the minister responsible for the portfolio, Sylvestre Radegonde.
Minister Radegonde will further address the National Assembly on September 28.
The French debate contests for schools will once again appear on the programme after disappearing from last year’s festival and PS Francis noted that the schools have already expressed their enthusiasm to participate in the debate.
Other remaining activities will be broadcasted throughout the week on the channels of the state TV broadcaster, SBC, such as a Bonzour Sesel segment on September 29, TV programme ‘Tourizm: Nou Biznes’ on September 28 and a special SBC broadcast on October 1.