Reunion’s Didier Robert tells off French bureaucrats, vows to continue promoting tourism


(Posted 20th February 2014)

MOCA, Reunion’s prized convention centre set high above the capital of St. Denis, was the venue for the Tourism Forum earlier this week, during which three special workshops were conducted, focusing on

– Image and Destination – presented by IRT

– Tourism attractions – presented by the Regional and the General Council

– Governance and regulations – presented by the Regional Council and NEXA

The event was organized by the Prefect of Reunion, Jean Luc Marx and the President of the Regional Council Didier Robert and Nassimah Dindar, President of the General Council were both present on the occasion to underscore the importance of tourism for this French Indian Ocean island.

Information received tells the story of French President Francois Holland being keen on making tourism a key priority of his government, clearly appreciating the contributions the sector makes towards job creation and job retention, greater investments and foreign exchange income.

The working groups established concentrated on nine key areas:

  1. Diversify the tourism offer French
  2. Foster the emergence of new destinations
  3. Develop a strategy for event tourism
  4. Improve the organization of the reception
  5. Make an attractive business tourism industry and excellence
  6. Encourage investment to enhance the attractiveness of the offer
  7. Unite and energize the government to promote tourism
  8. Adapt the organization of the tourist sector to changes in the sector
  9. Revitalize the French tourism

In a related development it was also learned that the President of the Regional Council of Reunion, Didier Robert, has rejected the contents of an auditors’ report and the recommendations they made in Paris, suggesting that the auditors failed to understand tourism and the contributions the industry makes for the economic development and wellbeing of the island. The report recommended that tax incentives for the tourism industry be scrapped and the funds generated be used for other projects which they called ‘productive investments’ as if investments in new hotels and resorts or in the upgrading of existing ones were unproductive.

Reunion’s tourism industry, hard hit by the economic downturn in France from where most visitors to the island come, had over the past years run an intensive campaign to promote the island in other markets and achieved significant success in South Africa after lifting Visa requirements for holders of South African passports, a move which raised arrivals by a third compared to the time when Visa were required. In essence did Didier Robert affirm that the island’s decisions and economic path cannot and should not be dictated by bureaucrats in Paris who lack the information on what is best for the island and that his efforts to promote tourism will continue in the best interest of La Reunion. Way to go Didier Robert, way to go!

Visit for more information on the wide range of tourism attractions the island offers to visitors.

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