Didier Robert, the Regional Head of La Reunion Island, and Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, and their respective delegations dedicated time for intense tourism-related discussions during the visit of President Robert to Seychelles last week. Joint marketing approaches, the need for relaunching direct and non-stop air services between La Reunion and Seychelles, and planning of tour operator packages including La Reunion and Seychelles were discussed.
The meeting was also the opportunity for President Didier Robert of La Reunion to thank the Seychelles Minister for his support to help bring the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference on Sustainable Development to La Reunion Island. The venue of this conference organized by the World Tourism Organization on September 11-13 is seen as an important milestone for La Reunion Island and for the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands region. Didier Robert said the conference, which groups a high delegation from the world of tourism, is the right platform for La Reunion to open itself to the world as a tourism destination in its own right and put to the fore the concept of the Vanilla Islands.
“La Reunion Island has been selected to host the World Tourism Organization’s Conference on Tourism Sustainable Development thanks to the support of Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, who has invested immensely in promoting the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Region as a tourism region. His support has helped convince the UNWTO that La Reunion is the right venue for this conference. We are convinced that this conference will be an appropriate platform to promote the concept of the Vanilla Islands within the UNWTO and promote La Reunion as a world-class tourism destination,” President Didier Robert of La Reunion said.
The La Reunion President of the region also spoke about the mobilization of media houses for this conference. He said that La Reunion Island has disbursed an important budget for media to cover the conference on Tourism Sustainable Development.
Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, on his part said that it was important for La Reunion Island and for the region as a whole to be recognized by such an important world organization as the UNWTO.
“This conference will not only put into perspective the concept of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Island region, but it will re-enforce the good relations that already exists between Seychelles and La Reunion for a start, and with each and every other member from the Community of Nations who believe and who work to consolidate tourism as one of their main industries. Seychelles fully supported La Reunion in the hosting of this conference, and today we are happy that the conference is in the Indian Ocean Islands, because this conference will bring added value to the different islands’ tourism industry as it will do for La Reunion as a destination,” Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles said.
The regional head of La Reunion Island’s working mission in Seychelles is a follow-up to the official visit by Seychelles President James Michel to the island in July 2013. Both Didier Robert and Minister St.Ange highlighted the positive feedback from the official visit to La Reunion by the Seychelles Head of State. They both stressed on the key points raised during that visit and its follow-up.
Minister Alain St.Ange has also touched on the Seychelles and La Reunion’s proposed plan to create by January 2014 an International Creole Institute in the Seychelles itself. Minister St.Ange said that this institute will put into value the work of academics from the region and from the world of Creoles at large.
“The plan is to see in Seychelles the setting up of an International Creole Institute opened in partnership with La Reunion. This was in fact an initiative of the Presidente General de La Reunion and an initiative we appreciated because, having La Reunion on board with us for this project gave us added scope to have an International Creole Institute with different chambers for the collection and preservation of documents from islands who consider themselves as part of the Creole community,” said Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture.
Didier Robert has commended this project saying that La Reunion supported the proposed plan to open the International Creole Institute. “This will be a giant leap in valorization of Creole as our region’s heritage,” President Didier Robert said.
With the upcoming Festival Kreol in October in Seychelles, La Reunion has agreed to be present with a strong delegation. They have also confirmed that they will be sending representatives of their Chamber of Commerce to Seychelles to discuss trade possibilities and of having an artisanal shop in Seychelles to showcase artisanal products made in La Reunion.
The lack of non-stop direct flights between Seychelles and La Reunion came out as a burning issue during the discussions between the delegations of both islands. The Seychelles Minister and the Regional Head of Reunion said that they will table this issue during their discussions with President Michel and together work to have the air link with La Reunion re-introduced. Both delegations outlined the benefits of direct flights for both islands.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .