Members of the SHTA (Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association) from Praslin and La Digue rallied at Tante Mimi Restaurant & Casino at Cote D’Or, Praslin for a follow-up dialogue meeting with members of the government. It was the Praslin Hotelier Christopher Gill who was in the Chair replacing Louis D’Offay, the Association’s Chairman, who could not be present for the meeting who welcomed Minister Joel Morgan, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Transport; and Minister Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture; and their respective delegations for the Praslin meeting.
Mr. Gill spoke about the need for the follow-up meeting saying that many points raised in the first such meeting needed clarification and an update from the respective authorities. Mr. Christopher Gill asked Minister Alain St.Ange and Minister Joel Morgan to each make a statement to the gathered tourism industry members.
Minister St.Ange started off by assuring all tourism operators of the islands of Praslin and La Digue that he remained the same friend of the industry he had been all the years he sat with them as a Committee Member of their association. He said that his new position as Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture should be seen as positive for the industry as it was the industry’s association who had made the move to get him into the Civil Service as the Tourism Board’s director of Marketing. Minister Alain St.Ange then went over the letter received from the Chairman of the industry’s association saying that the letter had been received and the points made heard. He said that the request for the Tourism Board to have a Director of Marketing following his move to the position of Minister had been approved and that the government was now waiting for recommendations from the chairman of the industry’s association. He also assured the gathered tourism industry members that Seychelles was for having direct air access to the traditional main tourist markets but that this was proving difficult to achieve. He announced that in the coming weeks a meeting was being organized in Paris, France, with French tour operators selling Seychelles and airlines connecting Seychelles to France directly through a stop in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, La Reunion, Nairobi, and Addis Ababa.
Minister Joel Morgan was next to address the Praslin and La Digue tourism industry members. He went over the security measures in place and the statistics received for the period to date which showed a marked improvement on the situation on hand. He touched on the domestic air services provided by Air Seychelles and reaffirmed the position of the Seychelles government on the question of air access.
Before opening the meeting for questions and statements from the floor, Mr. Christopher Gill thanked both Minister Joel Morgan and Minister Alain St.Ange for traveling to Praslin for that meeting. Mr. Gill appealed to see the reintroduction of the Security Committee in association with the tourism association.
Many points of concern and statements were tabled from the floor, which saw reactions by both Ministers present and by Mr. Gill from the Chair before the CEO of the Public Utility Corporation, Mr. Philippe Morin, and Capt. Valmont of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority, presented a short statement on relevant situations facing Praslin and La Digue. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ernest Quatre, also answered to queries raised from the floor. Elsia Grandcourt, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board; Raymond St.Ange and Jenifer Sinon from the SHTA; Terrence Mondon, the PS for the Ministry of Transport; and Franky Madeleine from the Licensing Authority were among the officials who also traveled from Mahe for the Praslin meeting.
Minister Alain St.Ange told the press after the meeting that a further meeting on La Digue was now being planned as it was the government’s wish to keep open the spirit of dialogue in place. “We believe that the avenues of discussion developed with all sectors of the industry in the preparations of the Tourism Master Plan needed to be maintained. We appreciated the involvement of the different groupings and associations representing every sector of the industry and this open line of communication we want to ensure that it is maintained,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.