Minister St.Ange was joined at the Press Conference by Derek Savy, the new Marketing Director for the Vanilla Islands who are both in transit on their way to Madagascar to attend the 2nd Edition of the International Tourism Trade Fair in Madagascar.
The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands regional Organization today comprises of Seychelles, La Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Mayotte, with an agreement already reached to include Maldives in the very near future.
Minister St. Ange thanked the numerous journalists representing all the major printed press of Mauritius together with Radio Plus & MBC radio. The Mauritius Broadcasting TV station was also in attendance. He set the tone of the press conference by addressing topics relevant to the developments in the Vanilla Islands organization and an assessment of the tourism growth in the Seychelles. The minister also reiterated that the Seychelles and himself in his capacity as President of the Vanilla Islands Organization continue to promote the ‘open door policy’ vis a vis the press by extending an invitation to all those present to visit the Seychelles and the region to better acquaint themselves with what the Indian Ocean region has to offer the world in terms of diversity and uniqueness.
He stressed on the fact that all the Vanilla Islands should join together to promote the region and show solidarity towards each other. ‘Unity is strength and we need not only to be saying that we are working together but be seen to be working together” the Minister said. He noted that the islands’ strength lies in the togetherness and support of each other’s manifestations. “This is why, as the sitting President of the Vanilla Islands Organization, I am on my way to Madagascar to show solidarity and support for their important regional tourism trade fair as the Malagasy have showed their unwavering support for the Carnaval International de Victoria that is staged annually in Seychelles” he stressed. This also echoes the same spirit of support from La Reunion for all the three editions of the carnaval and the participation of Mauritius with their award winning float and parade at this year’s carnaval edition. This united support is now being manifested in the high level delegation attendance at the Madagascar trade fair event.
The press conference focused on the uniqueness and strengths of the region as a whole as well as the opportunities that exist to further develop existing markets and break into new markets by offering dynamic combination packages. The Minister stressed that it is vital to develop a more cohesive air access policy to enhance the potential of twin center or multi island destination holiday options. This is already a big draw for mature markets such as Europe and the potential of other emerging markets are also following this trend. “Tourism remains the key industry for wealth and job creation for the benefit of the economies and people of all our islands. It is now of vital importance for us to put the spotlight on the Indian Ocean region and ensure that it is seen to be in vogue and a much sought after touristic destination region in the world” the Minister added.
He ended his brief to the press by reminding everyone that the Indian Ocean region is the only area with an untapped potential for cruise ship itineraries because of the diversity of the islands and their close proximity to one another. “We have the potential to create our own brand of cruising, with small scale, more personalised cruise ships taking in not only the sights and sounds but the rich cultural mixture which our islands manifest”.