The presence in the Seychelles of the Chairman of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Robert Desvaux, ostensibly on other business, was nevertheless used to put the major talking point across the entire Vanilla Islands and much of the global tourism world allegations that his CEO Karl Mootoosamy had done a copy and paste job on the Seychelles Carnival success to rest.
According to information at hand Mr. Desvaux hastened to mend the broken fences which the recent notable absence of Mauritius from other Vanilla Island events seemed to suggest, that Karl and his merry men were almost hellbent to undermine, if not outright sabotage the marketing alliance from their lager mentality of they are all against us and Seychelles is running circles around us as has been reliably reported from Port Louis.
The reaction though, on Mauritius itself, within the Vanilla Islands partners and further abroad, where consternation spread over this abrasive and confrontational approach by Karls MTPA, must have triggered a reaction amongst political circles in Port Louis too and the arrival of MTPAs chairman in the Seychelles was clearly aimed at mending fences and pouring oil on stormy waters to calm the waves and restore order.
Mr. Desvaux was quoted by a source from Mahe to have said in the press conference, he jointly attended with his counterpart from La Reunion, Mr. Pascal Viroleau, the Seychelles Tourism Board CEO Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt and the Seychelles Tourism Minister Alain St. Ange, on whom much of Karls recent resentment seems to have focused, that: that there was a misunderstanding as to what Mauritius was announcing and about the real intention of Mauritius before adding Mauritius [is] organizing a Shopping Fiesta from the 29th June to the 5th August and that as part of the Fiesta will be taking place a sailing regatta and the carnival of Flic en Flac among many other activities.
Not that Karls initial announcement was in the least misunderstood, it is satisfying to note that political expediency and diplomatic efforts have now reeled the gone way overboard CEO of MTPA back in and put him on what appears a tight leash, restoring Mauritius standing with their Vanilla Islands partners and actively seeking a way forward and putting this sorry episode firmly behind them all.
Notably was it said by the MTPA Chairman Robert Desvauz on the occasion that: it was important to take note that it was now agreed that it was Seychelles [and La Reunion] who will continue to stage a carnival as the event of the Vanilla Islands.
The Seychelles Tourism Minister Alain St.Ange was reported to have said that before the press conference called by the MTPA Chairman he had personally presided over a meeting at the MAIA Resort with Robert Desvaux (Mauritius), Pascal Viroleau (La Reunion) and Elsia Grandcourt (Seychelles) where it was agreed that it was time to review the priorities of the Vanilla Islands and to take new decisions to ensure that the grouping of islands could make new headway.
We are many to fly the Vanilla Islands flag. It is now time to consolidate the working partnership and ensure we all remain united. The spirit of the Vanilla Islands remains very much alive and we now need to consolidate it before he also confirmed that the meeting between Seychelles, Mauritius and La Reunion which took place at the MAIA Resort had reached agreement on different important decisions.
He went on to mention: For example we agree that we shall all promote four Vanilla Islands events as part of our regions calendar of events namely the Shopping Fiesta of Mauritius (29 June to 5th August), the Carnaval International de Victoria staged in Seychelles (8th to 10th February), the International Tourism Fair of Madagascar (31st May to 3rd June) and the Liberté des Métisses et Food Festival of La Réunion (17 au 20 December) which commemorates the Abolition of Slavery. The door remains open for Comoros and Mayotte to also move to propose an event of their choice to appear of the Vanilla Islands Calendar of Events.
According to additional information sent to this correspondent overnight it has also been agreed that Tourism Ministers from the Vanilla Islands with the Chairperson or CEO of their Tourism Boards will meet in July in Seychelles at the same time as the ROUTES AFRICA 2012 Forum, the ICTP (International Council of Tourism Partners) General Assembly and the RETOSA Board Meeting will also all be taking place Seychelles. It was reportedly also resolved that the Vanilla Islands Seychelles meeting was needed to move the Indian Ocean Islands Association forward. The time has arrived for the Vanilla Islands to have its own Chief Executive Officer to manage the organization from a head office in La Reunion. The responsibilities of the Vanilla Islands Secretariat will be to look after the good running of the organization and to move forward joint promotional actions and plans. This will be a point on the agenda at the Vanilla Islands July Meeting the Seychelles minister said.
For the financing of the Vanilla islands Head Office and Secretariat, Minister Alain St.Ange explained that the group of islands will be appealing to the European Union for an adequate support budget. On this issue Pascal Viroleau said that the first mission of the Vanilla Islands members was to agree on their different projects that will enhance and showcase Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte and La Reunion and to then lodge that with the European Union. Mr. Viroleau of La Reunion was quoted to have said at the start there were four of us who pushed the idea of the Vanilla Islands. Many people did not believe that the grouping of islands would go far, but we have made progress. We have shown that we could all work together. We are all six mid ocean islands and remain united in our drive to make our region more visible and more known.
Well said and it is good to see that the negative fallout caused by one individual could be overcome and is now being turned into a regional common way forward, from which all the Vanilla Islands will jointly benefit and get promotional mileage in local, regional and international media.
It also confirms in closing the sentiments expressed here in previous articles about Karls way of running MTPA and that change is needed there too. Watch this space.