(Alain St. Ange, seen here during an interview last year)
Elsia Grandcourt, hitherto Deputy Chief Executive at the Seychelles Tourism Board, has been appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer, following the elevation of Alain St. Ange to the position of Minister for Tourism and Culture.
Alain St. Ange, appointed as Director of Tourism Marketing at the Seychelles Tourist Board before being elevated to the CEO position in a second major restructuring of STB within the space of 3 years, is credited to have put the team together which turned the fortunes of the Seychelles as a top of the pops tourism destination around and injected his vision into the tourism board, running it like a private sector enterprise to ensure the survival of the countrys tourism sector when the global economic and financial crisis struck in 2008.
Since then, with a new marketing strategy firmly in place, which was jointly developed and agreed upon with the private sector led by the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, the country has topped new arrival and revenue records in the years 2010 and 2011 and although renewed challenges emerged for 2012, the sectoral leadership is confident that the target of 200.000 visitors can be reached for the first time this year.
The new stand alone ministry moves the portfolio from the direct oversight of President James Michel, who took tourism under his own control, after it was previously held by his former Vice President, since retired, Joseph Belmont, which was a clear sign how important the tourism sector is for the archipelago besides fishing and trading.
Alain St. Ange, incidentally not a member of the ruling Party Lepep but to the contrary a former member of parliament for the opposition, has been tipped since the State of the Nation address by President Michel last Thursday, as the new man and his appointment came as no surprise to keen observers of the Seychellois political scene, which has significantly changed since President Michel took charge at the helm of the country and initiated a series of structural reforms benefitting ordinary Seychellois while taking on board a series of measures aimed to making the countrys political scene more open and more inclusive.
(Elsia Grandcourt, speaking to this correspondent on board of the Kir Royale
also during an interview on occasion of the Seychelles Regatta in 2011)
Elsia Grandcourt, appointed only a year and a half ago to the position of Deputy CEO of STB, has also been tipped to take over from Alain St. Ange, and while she has a large pair of shoes to fill it is expected that she will not only do so but put high heels on them as she goes along.
First feedback from staff of the Seychelles Tourism Board was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, as they can count on the fullest support of their new minister while working with a CEO who has in past months excelled in her duties and functions at the board, including bringing the Routes Conference Africa to Victoria in July.
Congratulations are extended to both Minister Alain St. Ange and CEO Elsia Grandcourt and a full profile review for both will be published here in due course.