SEYCHELLES ST. ANGE GUEST OF HONOUR AT MADAGASCAR TOURISM FAIR
The Minister for Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, Alain St. Ange, was invited by the Madagascar government as guest of honour to formally open the islands International Tourism Fair, as Madagascar is trying to re-emerge from the political cold it found itself in over political events 2 years ago.
St. Ange, in his usual engaging style, praised the cooperation between the Indian Ocean islands working hitherto hand in hand under the Vanilla Island marketing concept and made it clear that cooperation in todays economic climate was the sensible and logical choice for the islands instead of individually facing the same problems but without the safety net others could hold out.
Quoting in part from his address availed to this correspondent, Minister St. Ange said:
On behalf of President James Michel, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, the current President of the Indian Ocean Commission the message is to the you Minister Jean Max Rakotomamanjy, and to the exhibitors and friends of the tourism industry I simply say all the very best with the 2012 edition of the International Tourism Fair Madagascar 2012. Madagascar along with Seychelles, La Reunion, Mauritius, Mayotte and Comoros launched the Vanilla islands grouping because we all saw merit in unifying ourselves to get our region more visible and known. Today Madagascar is promoting a Tourism Fair for our Region and I stand here as a display of our support for the unity of our islands and for their effort in staging a event that can and that will bring visibility to our region, to the Vanilla islands. Seychelles is also doing the same through the annual Carnival International de Victoria which was co-hosted this year with La Reunion again in that same spirit of togetherness to get our region more known. We need all our islands to find a theme on which to stage a regional event which we can all support. We cannot be an island onto ourselves. We need each other, our region needs all of us and the Vanilla islands depends on unity of its six islands. It is with this frame of mind or mindset change needed in some cases that we will overcome the difficulties we are having to contend with because of the economic woes in our traditional main tourist markets. The policy of working in isolation and safeguarding only your little patch is no longer sustainable as a policy. The world is moving fast and as a Region we need to be on board, and we must ensure that we do not miss the boat. I am in Madagascar because we, in Seychelles, we believe that we need to show support for Madagascar in their endeavour to create a Tourism Fair for Magagascar. But also a tourism fair for the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands expressing the position of both the Seychelles government and of his ministry in regard of cooperation within the Indian Ocean islands versus block headed competition of the 70s command economy style.
Notably was reference avoided to what must have been a trigger to some of these comments, the attempt by MTPSs Karl Mootoosamy to Copy and Paste Seychelles festival success in what has been largely perceived as the reaction of a bruised ego and a last ditch attempt to safe his own, under growing pressure, tenure some say has now become almost untenable.
Present at the fair opening were senior ministers from the Madagascar government and top diplomats, on whom St. Anges diplomatic side stepping of the issue they expected to be addressed were not lost. Present were the Madagascar Minister for Tourism, Mr Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, Mrs Elia Ravelomanantsoa, the Madagascar Minister for Culture, Dr Johanita Ndahimananjara, Madagascar Minister for Health, Mrs Lantotiana Rakotomavo, Vice President for Madagascar Superior Council for Transition, Eric Koller the President of the Office National du Tourisme de Madagascar and Vola Raveloson, the Director General of his Office, Frederic Pierret the Executive Director of the WTO among many national dignitaries and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Watch this space as Madagascar is aiming to reclaim its position as a nature tourism destination with in particular their national parks and the various Lemur species attracting the most attention.