Costa Cruises has set a very ambitious plan to increase the number of cruise passengers and also increase its rotations by three times in the region of the Indian Ocean for the coming two years. The Costa Cruises company is presently doing 6 rotations in the Indian Ocean. Costa NeoClassica’s Indian Ocean two-week circuit, boarding passengers in Mauritius and port calls in Seychelles, Madagascar, and Reunion Island, is bringing an average of 6,800 passengers to the Indian Ocean region. The company plans to increase this rotation to 12 in 2017 and to bring an average of 10,800 passengers in the region.
Costa Cruises’s success story in the region of Indian Ocean is closely been watched by the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands grouping. Seychelles was the host country for Costa Cruises meeting with Ministers from the Vanilla Islands. Chaired by Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture, the meeting with Costa Cruises executive vice President Sales and Marketing Norbert Stiekema was attended by Didier Robert, Senator & President of Regional Council of Reunion, Xavier Luc Duval the Mauritian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Joel Morgan the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport and Tourism representatives of Madagascar. Vanilla Island C.E.O. Pascal Viroleau, Dominique Fournel, Lieutenant Colonel Andre Ciseau the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Ports Authority, Anne Lafortune the principal secretary for tourism, Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board and Benjamine Rose, the Principal Secretary for culture.
Costa Cruises made it clear in the meeting that the company’s commercial venture in the Indian Ocean is to make profit. During this morning meeting a series of issues were tabled for discussion to ensure Costa Cruises business is viable in the region. Besides coming to a consensus on lowering Port and Air costs, extending cruise season in Indian Ocean, among other issues, it was agreed among Vanilla Islands grouping the need for cruise Croisiere to stay longer at each port call for the Islands to benefit economically. Minister St.Ange proposed the presence of a sales & marketing agent representing each island of Vanilla Islands group to be positioned on board the Costa Cruises during their Indian Ocean cruises to help sell more excursions on their respective Islands. Mr. Didier Robert said there is a real potential within the Islands to promote cruise and fly cruise tourism in the region. He said the Vanilla Islands will continue to listen to challenges and all the elements to improve port services and other services required by Costa Cruises for their port calls. Minister Joel Morgan spoke of the potential of fly-cruise tourism for Seychelles and the Vanilla Island region. He gave his assurance for the required support to Costa Cruises to help make its Indian Ocean cruise-circuit viable. On his part, Mr. Xavier-Luc Duval said Mauritius is working actively within Vanilla Islands so that cruise and fly tourism become a sustainable sector in the region. At the end of the meeting it was agreed that Mauritius would host in June a meeting of ministers of transport and of tourism to discuss the challenges of cruise tourism within the Vanilla Islands region.