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Sri Lankan President’s State visit to Seychelles includes UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vallée de Mai

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Written by Alain St.Ange

A visit to the Unesco-declared World Heritage Site of Vallée de Mai on Praslin is said to have left a lasting impression on the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, and his delegation. 

A visit to the Unesco-declared World Heritage Site of Vallée de Mai on Praslin is said to have left a lasting impression on the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, and his delegation.

The Sri Lankan President was on his second day of a three-day State visit to Seychelles on the invitation of President Danny Faure. President Sirisena’s busy day started very early with a visit to the Botanical Garden at Mont Fleuri on Mahé. At the Botanical Garden, President Sirisena had the honour of planting a Lodoicea maildivica nut (coco de mer endemic nut) on the left side at the near entrance close to a breadfruit tree.

Following this, he strolled uphill towards the tortoise pen, admiring the scenic view along the way, in the company of the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Wallace Cosgrow; the principal secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Wills Agricole; the chief executive of the National Botanical Garden Foundation, Raymond Brioche, and other officials from the ministry. There, he fed the tortoises with their favourite food (leaves).

The President of Sri Lanka then travelled to the Vallee de Mai on Praslin to enjoy the natural splendor of this internationally renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The President was in the company of  Dr. Frauke Fleischer-Dogley the CEO of the Seychelles Island Foundation, and staff of the SIF Vallee de Mai welcomed him to the Vallee de Mai.

The CEO of SIF Dr. Fleischer-Dogley escorted the President on a short tour around the visitors center and thereafter spent a little extra time inside the forest. The President of Sri Lanka was eager to see the place that the Coco de Mer came from since he had planted that very morning a Coco de Mer nut on Mahe. President Maithripala Sirisena got the chance to see the female as well as male Coco de Mer trees. Dr Fleischer Dogley explained to the visiting President the significance of this forest to Seychelles’ biodiversity and why it was very special. The President observed his visit as he signed in the visitors’ book placed at the entrance gate of the forest.

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About the author

Alain St.Ange

Alain St Ange has been working in the tourism business since 2009. He was appointed as the Director of Marketing for Seychelles by President and Minister of Tourism James Michel.

He was appointed as the Director of Marketing for Seychelles by President and Minister of Tourism James Michel. After one year of

After one year of service, he was promoted to the position of CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board.

In 2012 the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands regional Organization was formed and St Ange was appointed as the first president of the organization.

In a 2012 cabinet re-shuffle, St Ange was appointed as Minister of Tourism and Culture which he resigned on 28 December 2016 in order to pursue a candidacy as Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation.

At the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu in China, a person who was being sought after for the “Speakers Circuit” for tourism and sustainable development was Alain St.Ange.

St.Ange is the former Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine who left office in December last year to run for the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO. When his candidature or document of endorsement was withdrawn by his country just a day before the elections in Madrid, Alain St.Ange showed his greatness as a speaker when he addressed the UNWTO gathering with grace, passion, and style.

His moving speech was recorded as the one on the best marking speeches at this UN international body.

African countries often remember his Uganda address for the East Africa Tourism Platform when he was a guest of honor.

As former Tourism Minister, St.Ange was a regular and popular speaker and was often seen addressing forums and conferences on behalf of his country. His ability to speak ‘off the cuff’ was always seen as a rare ability. He often said he speaks from the heart.

In Seychelles he is remembered for a marking address at the official opening of the island’s Carnaval International de Victoria when he reiterated the words of John Lennon famous song… ” you may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. One day you will all join us and the world will be better as one”. The world press contingent gathered in Seychelles on the day ran with the words by St.Ange which made headlines everywhere.

St.Ange delivered the keynote address for the “Tourism & Business Conference in Canada”

Seychelles is a good example for sustainable tourism. This is therefore not surprising to see Alain St.Ange being sought after as a speaker on the international circuit.

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