The concept of 'Vanilla Islands', defined at the beginning of August 2010 under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission, aims to unify the islands of Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar, La Reunion, Seychelles Maldives and Mayotte, under one tourism brand through the valorization of each of the islands unique selling propositions. The Organization aims to increase connectivity to and intra islands, create new multi-destination products and attract more visitors to the Indian Ocean.
Attending the meeting of the Vanilla Islands, in La Reunion at the eve of the UNWTO/Government of France “Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Islands”, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said “It is exciting to see the political will behind this project: The regional cooperation emerging in the Vanilla Islands is an example of how destination islands can, by working together, address some of the key challenges facing islands such as connectivity while creating a stronger and more attractive brand.”
“The La Reunion Minister's meeting of the Vanilla Islands has been seen as a success because it has finally moved this concept into a real grouping that is today a tourism organization of a big region. Our achievements can also be seen as having been a success because of the presence of UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, who has brought to this meeting the recognition and the respect of the community of nations through UNWTO. The world will now hear of the Vanilla Islands as the new tourism destination and for this I join my colleague Ministers of the region to say thank you to UNWTO and to the community of nations”, said Alain St Ange, President of the “Vanilla Islands” and Minister of Tourism and Culture of Seychelles.
UNWTO will work together with the Vanilla Islands to promote the new Organization within the international tourism community and encourage the relationship between the Vanilla Islands and other regions of the world.