A reproduction of an intriguing article in Le Mauricien, written by Jean Clement Cangy …
Vanilla Islands moving, without Mauritius…
JEAN CLÉMENT CANGY, the known and respected Mauritian Journalist writes in popular Le MauricienNewspaper on the 3rd December that Mauritius is suffering more than the other islands of the region from the economic crises of the Euro Zone, the traditional tourism markets for the Indian Ocean region.
In the region it is only the Seychelles which seems to be finding its own in this difficult period. It is against this background that the project of the Vanilla islands was conceived by the Tourism Offices of the region (Mauritius, La Reunion, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros) probably as an efficient move to open new perspectives for regional tourism prospects. But it became apparent that Seychelles, Madagascar and La Reunion were pushing for the project to move full speed ahead, as Mauritius was on a go slow approach.
But realistically the Vanilla islands project was seen by all as being a good move and that it brought clear advantages to promote on the tourism markets more than the traditional sun, sea and sand which was losing its appeal and not a drawing card anymore. The Vanilla islands was offering cultural values of each island offering twin center approaches: Mauritius – La Reunion, Madagascar-Seychelles, La Reunion-Madagascar, Mauritius-Seychelles, Mauritius-Madagascar for example.
Faced with the existing financial crises of the Euro Zone and the competition from the different tourist destinations also promoting sun, sea and sand, the Vanilla Islands project, which dates back to early 2011, moved to bring together the strengths of each of the Indian Ocean Islands as they do complement each other and to also highlight these islands cultural values whilst maintaining to promote the identity and of each these islands. Today it is seen as more important than ever before to diversify tourist markets for the region and to work together to conquer new potential markets. The Vanilla islands project aimed at increasing the visibility of the region islands as they planned to establish more air access between the different islands.
Seychelles, Madagascar and La Reunion are now clearly working together to increase their visibility on the world wide tourism markets. To this end it was announced last Friday that Seychelles, Madagascar and La Reunion would be jointly co-hosting the 2013 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria which is set to take place in early February 2013 in the Capital of the Seychelles.
The Carnaval International de Victoria which has as one of its objectives to become the ‘carnival of carnivals’ has been able to ensure for its first two editions to the participation of representatives of the best known carnivals of the world including Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Notting Hill (UK), Dusseldorf (Germany) and from Trinidad and Tobago. This carnival is set to be the cultural melting pot with colour and flavor.
For its third edition (2013), the Carnaval International de Victoria will see the participation of groups coming from India, la Reunion, Indonesia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, China, Zimbabwe, Great Britain, United States of America. Invited to be present for the last edition of the carnival Mauritius refused to participate for unknown reasons.
The Vanilla islands want the world to take notice of their existence and of their respective cultural identity with the aim of attracting more tourists to their region. Once upon the time Mauritius had led the way by doing exactly that when it tried to work with Kenya for a safari-beach holiday option. Today without Mauritius, the Vanilla islands are set to be working with as far away as Zimbabwe for a similar holiday package.