Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister of Tourism & Culture, was invited to take part in the inaugural Ministerial Session of Tourism Indaba on May 9, 2014 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Conference Centre in Durban.
Designed to be a platform for key industry players and politicians to deliberate on emerging trends, challenges and opportunities facing the tourism sector in Africa, the 2014 inaugural session’s theme was “Africa: Open for Tourism Business.”
With senior tourism players from several countries present, including South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, and the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, the inaugural session was opened by Mr. Marthinus Von Schalkwyk, the Minister of Tourism of South Africa. Also present was Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union.
Under the expert guidance of program director, Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela, and panel moderator Ms. Tumi Makgebo, the inaugural session touched on several issues and challenges facing the successful evolution of tourism on the African continent, including lack of air access, lack of political will to resolve issues, difficulties with visas and cross-border travel, and negative travel advisories, among others.
Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles made an impassioned plea for greater levels of collaboration between African nations, citing the success of such regional movements as East3Route, the Vanilla Islands, and such end products as the Carnaval International de Victoria of the Seychelles which clearly illustrates how regional cooperation can be of great mutual benefit to African countries.
“It is high time for Africa to work with Africa,” he asserted.
Panel members were asked to suggest ways forward and to identify possible solutions to impasses affecting the growth of the industry as key players from the private sector, and the press listened attentively.
After several hours of discussions the inaugural session was wound up by concluding remarks from Minister Von Schalkwyk, and the Chairperson of the African Union followed a photo session and press interviews with key players.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .