(The Notting Hill Samba Dancers kicking off the show in the heart of Victoria)
The inaugural edition of the mother of all carnivals the Carnaval de Carnivals in Victoria last year was solely the affair of the Seychelles, but the second, larger, bigger and better edition turned out to be a joint venture between Seychelles and La Reunion, after the two tourist boards decided to co-host the event.
When the show went on the road last night with a grand opening in the centre of Victoria, witnessed by President James Michel, his counterpart from La Reunion Mr. Didier Robert, UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai and a number of other dignitaries, it set the ball rolling for three days of fun and partying as local spectators, tourists from abroad and over 350 passengers of the Costa Allegra crammed into the area around Victorias famous clock tower to witness the occasion.
The UNWTO Secretary General applauded the cooperation between the two Vanilla Islands as ground breaking and visionary, and in particular the invited guests sat up and took notice, when later on Seychelles tourism chief guru Alain St. Ange announced that discussions were already at an advanced stage to have a threesome in 2013, with another country coming on board to co-host the high profile event.
The publicity given across the past 12 months to the first edition of the carnival and this years large contingent of regional and international media organizations reporting from Mahe, has undoubtedly spurred added interest to join the bandwagon and become part of the event, which next year will be held in early February.
Said a source close to STB but not wishing to be named: We at STB have invested heavily last year to launch the first ever carnival in Africa. It became a success overnight and we put all doubts to rest if it was the right thing to to. This year La Reunion is co- hosting and the event is bigger and better and got even more publicity. It is a success story already and we are confident that for next year and beyond we will be getting more partners to co-host, more sponsors and more publicity, which is extending to our co-hosts also. It is almost like an avalanche now, got its own momentum and will become a signature event across the Indian Ocean islands and for Africa. We are so proud that our small country has again made a big impact in the world of tourism.
Other stakeholders in the local tourism industry commented that the main island of Mahe was literally sold out as a result of the carnival festival and that the positive media coverage was hopefully mitigating the fallout of the Eurozone crisis which according to one regular source was causing some concern in tourism circles on the archipelago.
Expect more reports from Mahe as the carnival festival continues until Sunday night.