SEYCHELLES MAKE IT TO UNWTO EXECUTIVE AS ST. ANGE ELECTED AS FULL MEMBER
(Posted 26th August 2013)
Information was just confirmed that the Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St. Ange, was elected at the 20th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization to a seat on the body’s Executive Council. The African seats on this key UNWTO decision making organ are now held, besides the Seychelles, by South Africa, Angola and Tunisia.
St. Ange received support from many African countries for his vision of working hand in hand with them and making Africa and her Indian Ocean islands work together to promote safari and beach tourism, exchange important information and cooperate in manpower development and other areas of mutual concern.
It was St. Ange in fact who, as the annual Carnaval de Carnivals, the Carnival International de Victoria took root, brought in African countries from the mainland to participate in the event as co-sponsors to increase their visibility and gain greater global exposure as part of a highly publicized event.
Only two days ago was it announced that Elsia Grandcourt, the immediate past CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, was appointed to the position as Regional Director for Africa at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, and with Alan St. Ange now elected to the Executive Committee, many of their ardent supporters are confident that their experience in promoting the Seychelles archipelago in recent years will be hugely beneficial to activities of UNWTO to promote greater travel to Africa.
Africa last year only received about 5 percent of the global number of travellers, or a paltry 53 million visitors, and several African delegations now in Victoria Falls, who ahead of their travel were in touch with this correspondent, expressed their desire to see greater efforts put in place to give Africa a fairer share of global travel.
Congratulations are due for Alain St. Ange on his election to this very important position at UNWTO and all the best for the challenges ahead. No doubt will his vision for the Seychelles find its way to define a new vision for Africa as a whole.
(The ‘winning team’ – Seychelles Tourism Minister Alain St. Ange and Elsia Grandcourt)
The Minister did respond to his election by saying: ‘It is good for Seychelles to take its rightful place on the World Tourism Body of the Community of Nations. This helps our islands to be heard and to be seen as a relevant tourism destination. Members of our delegation have been working hard in meetings with other organisations such as SADC, RETOSA and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and also with other Member States. Because we worked as a Team, and because we came as a Team instead of just a Minister we managed to do Seychelles proud. Our Seychelles delegation have also worked long hours with their Zambian counterpart to finalise all arrangements for an MOU to be signed between Zambia and Seychelles during the 20th General Assembly of the UNWTO when the eyes of the world tourism was on Africa’. When asked to comment on Elsia Grandcourt’s appointment he added: ‘We knew that someone from our islands was going to be named as the Director for Africa for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and it was important to have the person with us as part of our team. Elsia Grandcourt has done Seychelles proud, and everyone in our islands who have Seychelles at heart will be rejoicing that a Seychelloise from the whole World of Tourism has been singled out to take up such an important position in the World’s Tourism Umbrella Body. We are of course happy to now have a seat on the Executive Council of the UNWTO. This United Nations Tourism Body remains the most important grouping for the tourism industry. Our presence will help us to get our region and Africa more in focus when decisions on or about tourism is being made’.
Well done again and all aficionados of the Seychelles will no doubt be happy to hear and read about the news.