Many countries are today promoting themselves as tourism destinations, but very few of them are as dependent on their tourism industry as is the Seychelles, where tourism has become the pillar of its economy. Seychelles has been known since it opened its International Airport in the 1970s as the dream tourism destination, and press from around the world have descended on these islands to film the idyllic sun, sea and sand experience.
These mid-ocean islands have seen their hotels and resorts move with the times, and today, they are ranked among the best in the world. A range of smaller “home-grown” accommodation networks have also found their place in the tourism industry of the islands that is today seen as being more sophisticated and at par with what is expected in a tourism-dependent destination.
The press has written all about or reported on the turquoise blue seas of the Seychelles and about its white sandy beaches, and are not willing to make the long-distance flights to cover what they have all done already – not once, not twice, but several times – meaning they have overkilled this story line. This is why the proactive Seychelles moved a couple of years ago to make its diverse culture become the base of its tourism industry as it moved into the world of events.
Today, Seychelles can say that they have proudly and successfully staged five editions of their Carnaval International de Victoria, the event nicknamed as the “Carnival of Carnivals” by the international press. Later this year in October, they will be staging the 30th anniversary of their Creole Festival, and in between, they continue to press forward with an interesting suite of cultural activities that mark all the historical lines that make the Seychellois the proud people they are today. Just weeks ago, they staged FetAfrik to mark their attachment with Africa, as they recognised Africa Day. This was but a cultural celebration that has this year seen the business community step in to help consolidate the tourism industry as the islands’ culture is showcased. The Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI) has come forward to give a new dimension to the event by staging their first FetAfrik Trade Fair as part of the FetAfrik celebrations.
Local Seychellois artisans and artists joined the business community from the region in a Trade Fair promoting south-south cooperation and trade in the event the Ministry of Tourism and Culture was again staging for Seychelles. “These events continue to get press coverage. This is what keeps Seychelles visible as it has never achieved before. As trade is developed, the visibility we get through these events keeps the tourism industry on a solid footing,” said Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, as he toured the FetAfrik Trade Fair with Marco Francis, the Chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce (SCCI), accompanied by Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture; Anne Lafortune, the PS for Tourism; and John Stravens, the Councillor of the Chamber responsible for Tourism.
When he spoke to the press, Mr. Marco Francis said that the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries will support the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in their drive to consolidate the tourism industry of Seychelles through cultural events, because culture opens itself for the development of small business entrepreneurs.
On his part, Minister Alain St.Ange said that he welcomed the support by the Chamber of Commerce and Industries for the cultural events being staged by Seychelles. “Walking through this FetAfrik Trade Fair, we saw and spoke with our renowned artists, we saw our arts and crafts entrepreneurs, we saw regional business men and women, as we saw Seychellois manufacturers and traders. It was a real feeling of togetherness rarely seen before. We must say that the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Seychelles Tourism Board is succeeding in its drive to get everyone to appreciate that our islands’ culture is the catalyst for progress. At the April Carnaval International de Victoria, we saw hotels and resorts join the carnival parade, we also saw so many from the tourism industry come forward in the spirit of solidarity with the government to give their helping hand for the good of the Seychelles tourism industry. We shall continue to work to bring everyone together for the benefit of Seychelles,” Minister St.Ange said.
“Generally everyone is proud of our unique culture. When we moved to place our culture at the center of our tourism development, we were placing the people of Seychelles at the center of our development,” said Minister St.Ange
Every business needs the same Seychellois to make his or her business work and with the same Seychellois placed at the center of the development of the islands and their culture placed at the center of the tourism development so the consolidation of the tourism industry in Seychelles is as assured as is the protection of its culture. This is the same marriage that the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization) and the UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) have also been pushing forward.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP)No tags for this post.