Elsia Grandcourt joins UNWTO as Regional Director for Africa

ELSIA GRANDCOURT APPOINTED UNWTO REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA

(Posted 25th August 2013)

Dr. Taleb Rifai this morning announced in Victoria Falls / Zimbabwe that Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt, immediate former CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, has been appointed as Regional Director for Africa, to be based at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid.

This lifts the veil of speculation over Elsia’s recent departure as CEO of Seychelles Tourism after only 15 months in office, as has been intimated here last week already in a related article.

Present at the announcement was the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Mr. Alain St. Ange, whom Elsia in fact succeeded at STB when he was appointed Minister in March 2012.

This morning will UNWTO start a series of meetings which are held alongside the General Assembly, today commencing with the Commission for Africa session for the tourism ministers and delegates from across the continent.

Elsia replaces Ousmane Ndiaye who served in the position as Regional Director for Africa for many years.

The appointment is largely seen as a validation of the Seychelles successful marketing juggernaut which started to take shape when Alain St. Ange was appointed as Director of Tourism Marketing in 2008 before being elevated to the CEO position as the restructuring of Seychelles Tourism took shape and began to conquer the markets in a march which took the archipelago from success to success for the past several years.

In the face of global challenges of island and beach holiday destinations has the Seychelles already increased visitor arrivals for 2013 by a staggering 14 percent, over and above the record breaking year 2012.

African delegates in contact with the author have expressed their personal satisfaction over the appointment, hoping that the Seychelles success can be translated to the entire continent of Africa, which last year received a paltry 5 percent of global travel movements, or some 53 million passengers. ‘We need to aim for the immediate future to raise this figure to 100 million before claiming a market share which fits the size of our continent. I know the challenges we have with Egypt tourism suffering so badly right now but they will recover. Tourism is resilient and that is no different in Egypt. The focus has to be on Eastern Africa and the islands, on Southern Africa and on West Africa which is completely under-represented in the statistics. I hope Elsia will be able to become our catalyst and replicate the success the Seychelles enjoy’ commented an East African participant who however could not go on record for not being the official spokesperson or delegation leader of his country to the UNWTO general meeting.

Congratulations to Elsia, and her country Seychelles, on the occasion of the announcement and all the best in the tasks ahead.

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