The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has taken over the rotating presidency of the Vanilla Islands organization, with the Mauritian Deputy Prime Minister Xavier Luc Duval vowing to use his mandate to "further strengthen the regional grouping."
Duval was handed the Vanilla Islands flag on Wednesday during the 2015 Ministerial Meeting of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands held at Balaclava’s Westin Resort in Mauritius.
The meeting saw the participation of tourism ministers from Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion, Madagascar and Mayotte while the Comoros and the Maldives were absent.
It is now also almost five years since the regional association of Vanilla Islands was created in August 2010 to promote and market tourism in the Indian Ocean under a common brand.
The presidency of the group is chosen by election each year. The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange was first to head the organization serving two consecutive terms in 2012 and 2013.
Then Reunion Island took the helm, followed by Madagascar before handing over the task to Mauritius.
The Seychelles tourism minister has welcomed the new president, stressing on the importance of unity to strengthen the regional grouping.
"Creating a new tourism region is no easy feat, but together we shall continue to work as a region as brothers and sisters to grow our tourism industry for the benefit of our respective islanders and for the economy of our respective islands," said St Ange.