Information received from the Seychelles continues to affirm that the archipelago is playing a pivotal role in pushing for the restoration of the once flourishing cruiseship trade, when at a meeting of the Indian Ocean port authorities on Mahe brought together key personnel from the ports of Mauritius, La Reunion, Madagascar, Mayotte and meeting hosts Seychelles.
Cruise liners, often bringing hundreds and at times thousands of visitors on shore visits when calling on a port in the region, can be a huge economic factor for the local economies in terms of supplies of fresh supplies, handling fees and the money tourists spend while on an island, for tours, excursions, in restaurants and for souvenirs.
Pirate activities in recent years had a serious impact on cruise tourism, but following Seychelles initiative to have armed security personnel on board of vessels intending to call on Port Victoria, these incidents have greatly reduced in recent months, aided further but a boosted aerial and naval capacity of the Seychelles and her partners from the global coalition.
Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism & Culture told members of the Ports Association of the Indian Ocean Islands that together Tourism Boards and Authorities of all islands of the Indian Ocean Group must work with their Pour Authority as the do with their Civil Aviation Authorities. He was according to a media release received overnight from the Seychelles Tourism Board telling the meeting: We need to see not the triangular norm approach for the consolidation of tourism, that is the Tourism Authorities, the Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authorities , but we are islands and need to rope in and work with Port Authorities as well. We need Ports for our Cruise Ship Business, but also, we need Ports for the guaranteed supplies that our respective islands tourism industries and our population are so dependent on, again underscoring his holistic approach to all matters concerning the tourism industry, not just in the Seychelles but across the Vanilla Island group of islands, another important project he keeps promoting and nurturing.
Members of the Ports Association of the Indian Ocean Islands and the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange at the meeting also agreed to have their Port Authorities involved in the marketing of the Indian Ocean islands as tourism destinations. They agreed in principle to their participation in the Creole Festival to be held in Seychelles on 26th 30th October 2012. For that event a dedicated Creole Village will be erected in Victoria, the self proclaimed Creole Capital of the World, to showcase the Creole speaking traditions and the cultures of the people of these nations. The Ports Association has reportedly also accepted the proposal of the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture to use this festival as a platform to showcase the synergies that exist between Port Authorities of the Indian Ocean islands and their respective tourism sectors and how the now safer waters of the Indian Ocean can again become part of the schedules for the international cruise lines. Watch this space.