VANILLA ISLAND MEETING ADMITS MALDIVES AS A FULL MEMBER
(Posted 10th September 2013)
In breaking news it was confirmed that the present members of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Island group have earlier today admitted the Maldives as its seventh member. The group now comprises La Reunion, Mauritius (including Rodrigues), Madagascar (including Nosy Bay), Mayotte, the Comoros, the Seychelles (including Praslin and La Digue) and as of today the Maldives. The group’s president, the Minister for Tourism and Culture in the Seychelles, also broke the news that they just received 650.000 Euro budget support from the European Union, allowing them to immediately start marketing the group with emphasis on web based activities.
The La Reunion Resolution covered a total of 9 key aspects of the ‘cooperative’, among them improvements to the entire hospitality sector, covering accommodation and the gastronomy, the immediate start to have their respective transport ministers work out an open sky agreement for the islands airlines. This includes Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, Air Austral and Air Madagascar to start with.
The group is also finalizing their new logo and will present same at the upcoming Top Resa tourism show to create a new brand identity for the Indian Ocean Vanilla Island members. The group also pledged to engage immediately with the world’s major cruiselines in order to discuss the creation of itineraries for cruise ships to sail between the islands, or include them on round the world cruises with the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands group committed to come on board for sales and marketing missions. A 3 year action plan will be drawn up by the secretariat, which will remain in La Reunion, headed by Pascal Viroleau, the CEO of Reunion Tourism and among the tasks this action plan will include it the future invitation to Zanzibar, Sri Lanka and the Mozambique Indian Ocean islands to join the group. The UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai, who was present at the media briefing, confirmed that the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands group will be joining UNWTO as an affiliate member with immediate effect.
(Seen here making the various announcements is Alain St. Ange, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Seychelles, President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands group and Member of the Executive Committee of UNWTO with Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO on his right).
It was also confirmed that the individual tourist boards will continue to market themselves at key tourism trade fairs as they did in the past, but that their stands will be visibly marked as members of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands group and that those stands will be in close vicinity to each others. Congratulations to the Maldives on their admission to this circle of Indian Ocean islands committed to make an impact and make the proverbial waves to promote themselves as a newly emerged region on the world tourism map. Watch this space.