SEYCHELLES MEETS WITH OTHER ‘VANILLA ISLANDS’ TO MAP OUT COOPERATION
The Seychelles Tourist Board, represented by CEO Alain St. Ange, Deputy CEO Elsia Grandcourt and the CEO of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association Jennifer Sinon, met their counterparts from the other Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and the Comoros in Madagascar’s capital of Antananarivo. The European Union had arranged, through ProInvest, for the four ACP countries to meet and strategize how best to exploit commonalities as well as unique selling points, in order to attract more tourists to these Indian Ocean islands.
Industry analysts have promptly commented on the choice of the first meeting place, Madagascar, which while in great need for more tourists to return to the island, is in a political mess and has been shunned by the African Union and put under embargo by other blocks since the coup which brought the current regime leader into power. This has led to a predictable fall in tourist arrivals to a country where in addition to the political issues the government is also under sustained criticism for not doing enough to stop illegal logging and exportation of tropical hardwood, which has reportedly eaten deeply into the island’s forests, depriving wild- and bird life of their habitat.
However, it was learned that Mauritius will be the venue for a follow up meeting, generally felt more appropriate and certainly less controversial than Madagascar. In fact, the EU’s and ProInvest’s choice of Madagascar, considering the travel advisories in place and the political circumstances in Madagascar, might be raised by members of the European Parliament in the future with one source from Strasbourg / Brussels claiming it sends the wrong message to dictators and the European Commission and their chosen partners should know better than boosting shunned regimes with any level of support.
It is beyond doubt thought that the Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles of course are bound to benefit from the two tier meetings as they are free from such problems as cited for Madagascar, with in particular the Seychelles excelling in environmental protection and best practises.