Spotlight on cultural tourism |19 April 2021
Key representatives from culture, tourism, the private sector, the Seychelles Music Association (Seymas), Cooperatives des Artisans, the National Arts Council (Nac) as well as the Mayor of Victoria met with Finance, Economic Planning and Trade Minister Naadir Hassan on Friday in a first meeting to discuss the way forward to developing the cultural tourism sector in Seychelles.
The meeting, hosted by Minister Hassan, took place at Liberty House.
“As announced in my budget speech on February 16, the cultural tourism sector is one area where the government wants to really focus on, because it trickles down directly in the community, providing livelihood for our people, and tourists can spend more, which means foreign exchange will stay in the country,” said Minister Hassan.
Representatives of both Seymas and Cooperatives des Artisans associations have welcomed the initiative and gave proposals how they can contribute to develop the sector, despite the difficulties they are facing.
The chairperson of Seymas, George Payet, has urged the authorities to ensure that Seychellois musicians are hired by tourism establishments to provide entertainment.
“We need a framework which will provide musicians with support and to enforce conditions in place, especially for GOP holders.”
Mr Payet said Seymas has worked on a list of all musicians who are full-time musicians, meaning music is their livelihood, and has urged the tourism department and Seychelles Tourism Board to make use of the list, anytime they need local artistes to perform.
According to Mr Payet, Seymas has also submitted the list to the Seychelles Hotel and Tourism Association (SHTA).
The chairperson of Cooperative des Artisans, Mariette McKelvey, made an appeal for support because the sector is dying.
“We need to make an extra effort to identify local artisans to help revitalise the sector so that we can share our knowledge with the younger generation.”
The Mayor of Victoria, David Andre, added his support to the concept of cultural tourism.
“I fully subscribe to the concept as I would like to see Victoria truly live up to its title of Creole capital of the world.”
All present agreed that for the concept to work it is important to get district authorities involved.
The chief executive of the Nac, Jimmy Savy, explained that for a long time there’s been talk about developing cultural tourism.
“We need to empower the districts, and I can announce that the National Arts Council has already started a conversation with the Ministry of Local Government for collaboration.”
Minister Hassan has urged the musicians and artisans to also look at other innovative means such as internet platforms to sell and market their products so they can reach a wider client base.
On that note, Sherin Francis, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), has urged the two associations to make use of its new internet App, PArraPI, where visitors can learn more on services available in the country.
While Minister Hassan has taken the initiative to start the conversation, it will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism to fully develop the concept and get locals on board.
The principal secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, announced during the meeting that a committee will be set up in the coming two weeks to discuss and agree on a Plan of Action.
“Diversification of local products offered by local artistes will be our main focus, when discussing on how to develop cultural tourism because the aim is to maximise tourism receipts by providing maximum exposure of local products.”
Ending the meeting, Minister Hassan said it is important that the committee “discuss, agree, implement and enforce actions” to develop cultural tourism to its full potential and simplify the process.
“The government is creating the right environment to provide encouragement and exposure but it will be up to the artists to take up the initiatives and opportunities which will be available to them.”
Press release from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning & Trade