It was Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture who was spending time answering questions from the Press covering the biggest single tourism event of France.
It was in answer to the question as to what was Seychelles doing different to its neighbours to be going against the challenging tide facing the region at large that Minister St.Ange said with a smile that tourism must be led with passion. The Seychelles Minister said that tourism policies in place in Seychelles came from the bottom up with the private sector trade implicated at every step of the way. "This approach gives us as much dept as it gives us uniqueness. This is the style of leadership I have maintained at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and it comes with an open door policy that gives access to every trade member, large or small, local of foreign immediate access to look at their challenges with them as and when they need me" Minister St.Ange said.
He also put emphasis of working with the region and through Tourism Organisations such as the UNWTO, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to remain relevant and visible where necessary and when necessary.
"We have developed working partnerships with our neighbours, and we have consolidated our very own regional grouping of mid ocean islands we have called the Vanilla Islands. We are leaving no stones unturned, and we are leaving no avenues unexplored as we move forward with plans and with innovative policies to consolidate the region's tourism industry and in so doing the Seychelles tourism industry". Minister St.Ange said.
He also discussed the yield from the tourism industry into the Seychelles economy which he said remained a challenge that needed to be seen to. The Minister from Seychelles said that Seychelles needed to encourage new tourism support initiatives to get off the ground which would encourage visitors to Seychelles to spend their holiday money on. 'The yield from tourism is not just the room rate, it is the total spending by tourists so we need to offer new activities and new attractions as we need to encourage new initiatives to get off the ground. Seychelles is blessed with its natural beauty and with its environment, but that in itself will not generate income for the country unless something is done to encourage money to change hands at such sites and for money to change hands it the country itself' Minister St.Ange said.