Pascal Viroleau gets nod as first CEO of the Vanilla Island Cooperation


The meeting of the Council of Ministers for the Vanilla Island Cooperation, under the Chairmanship of Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange, on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, brought together ministers and their representatives from Mauritius, Madagascare, Mayotte, Comoros and the Seychelles. Also present was the Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission Jean Claude De L’Estrac as an observer, as the objectives of the cooperation is of keen interest to the COI to, seeking to advance economic development through tourism.

The most important decision taken was the appointment of the present Director General of the La Reunion Tourism Office, Pascal Viroleau, as the first CEO of the organization, which is to a large extend financed by a grant from the European Union, besides contributions in cash and kind from the member countries.

Derek Savy, well known of course not just in his native Seychelles but well beyond as a marketing guru, was offered the position as Director of Marketing for the Vanilla Islands and it will be one of the CEO’s first actions to formally write to him and offer him the position – incidentally a resounding endorsement of the Seychelles marketing prowess and success, of which Derek was very much part and parcel in recent years.

The position as Director Strategic Planning will be offered to Mr. Karl Mootoosamy, who reportedly had applied for the opening ahead of the meeting and is expected to leave from his current job in Port Louis, where he has been heading the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.

Alain St. Ange was reported to have said after the meeting: ‘Following this big step forward, it was also agreed that a follow up meeting should take place early in December to finalise the organizations budgets and to approve Vanilla Islands marketing plan of actions for 2013. This follow up meeting is needed to now move the organisation’s action plans forward and ensure that at the next major tourism trade fair the Vanilla islands will be grouped together under the ‘Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands’. Minister St. Ange is the founder president of the organization and is generally considered as the main driver up to this point of the cooperation concept, promoting inter island visits for tourists coming to the region and to build on the strength of each island destination to support the entire region’s progress in making tourism the mainstream economic activity.

It is expected that for next year’s ITB in Berlin in March the group of islands will for the first time be represented under one combined exhibition space where each member island will then be able to promote itself, and her neighbours by showcasing the attractions from Seychelles to La Reunion, from Mauritius to Madagascar and from Mayotte to the Comoros. Watch this space and visit for regular updates and events information.