Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, has spoken to the press about his reactions following the findings by the the Travel & Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report 2013.
Seychelles has been ranked number 1 in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean region and number 38 in the world. This report is based on assessment of 140 economies worldwide under the theme, “Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation.” The assessment, which is based on the extent to which these economies are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector, validates the move carried out by President James Michel of the Seychelles after he took over the portfolio for tourism in his government to re-launch the island’s tourism industry exactly three years ago.
The World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index writes: The Sub-Saharan Africa Table 7 shows the results for the sub-Saharan region which sees the Seychelles entering the rankings for the first time at the top of the region, and 38thoverall. The importance of travel and tourism for the country’s economy is reflected in its top ranking for the prioritization of the industry, with the 2nd highest T&T expenditure-to-GDP ratio in the world and effective marketing and branding campaigns. These efforts are reinforced by a strong national affinity for travel and tourism (5th); good tourism infrastructure, especially in terms of available hotel rooms (6th); and good ground and air transport infrastructures, particularly by regional standards (31st and 27th, respectively). These positive attributes somewhat make up for its relative lack of price competitiveness (120th).
Although the natural environment is now assessed as being in good condition, efforts to develop the industry in a sustainable way could be reinforced, for example by increasing marine and terrestrial protection, which would help to protect the many threatened species in the country (132nd).
Mauritius loses its number one spot in the regional rankings, overtaken by the entry of the Seychelles this year, and is ranked 58th overall.
Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles has said that he was pleased with the report as it showed that his work and that of the team at the Tourism Board was today recognized not just in Seychelles, but also right across the world. “Three years it has taken to be where we are today. From a re-launch instigated by President Michel of the Seychelles when he moved the tourism industry as a portfolio under his very own office and launched his vision as the ‘Seychelles Brand of Tourism.’ Today the findings by the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 shows that the move by the Seychelles authorities has brought about the needed transformation of the island’s tourism industry which has brought it to new heights.”
It was President James Michel of the Seychelles who personally appointed Alain St.Ange, the known local hotel and tourism professional to head Seychelles Tourism as Director of Marketing before promoting him to the position of CEO of the Tourism Board to oversee a total re-launch of Seychelles tourism. In March last year, President James Michel moved to make tourism a standalone ministry of his government when he appointed Alain St.Ange as the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture. Before taking over the portfolio of tourism it was the island’s Vice President Joseph Belmont who had been mandated to head the tourism ministry.
“Today I am happy and accept the accolade the findings by the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 on behalf of the Ministry and the Tourism Board as a whole. We know that the inclusive approach in place where our partners are heard, where our staff are listened to, and where a annually time is set aside for a Marketing Meeting is held to pave the way for new approaches to be analyzed, and where new directions are looked at is working. This Marketing Meeting is with all the Tourism Board’s overseas offices, the airlines, the industry’s private sector association members, and the senior management of the Tourism Board, and it is clearl that this inclusive approach is the right approach that continues to bring dividends as we now see in this latest world report. We have managed to stay relevant as a tourism destination only because we are all working together, and because we remain proactive always,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
“Seychelles has never had the budget to play big advertising blitz, but we have instead been innovative and intelligent in getting to the press by being present at events and wherever opportunities came up. One needs a good message and the dedication and, of course, the ability to meet the press to echo the message. Any event offers these opportunities, but it is the contacts needed to get you in at the right place and at the right time that opens these doors for you. We have done well and always used the opportunities we had to fly the Seychelles flag high,” the Seychelles Minister said.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).