Seychelles unity approach ‘snubbed’ by Mauritius’ copy catting?


A usually well informed source from Mauritius has leaked a bombshell decision apparently taken by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority to copy cat the Seychelles success with the Carnival International de Victoria and try do their own rather than joining hands, as has been repeatedly offered to them, with Seychelles, La Reunion and other Indian Ocean islands as partners for the next festival in 2013.
Said a source from Port Louis, who admittedly is an ardent critic of never answers a mail, ever Mr. Karl Mootoosamy, when he questioned this apparent new twist in relations and said in an overnight mail commenting on the news, which he said he himself had not yet heard: MTPA has been reeling from the success of Seychelles in the international arena. That is very evident because Seychelles brought the media on their side and I think there is a lot of bruised ego in our man here who finds it hard to see others succeed where he failed. The Seychelles success story is the story of a new partnership approach started when Mr. Alain came into the frame a few years ago. He pushed for cooperation as Vanilla Islands, he brought a new spot light on Seychelles but also all the other Indian Ocean islands, and his team partnered very successfully with the media, the international airlines. When our private sector and press delegation went to Victoria in March, MTPA never sent an official delegation, and we saw the enthusiasm the media team from Port Louis came back with all the stories and no one at the time. No one understood why Mauritius was not responding to the invitation to join hands with La Reunion and I hear even Sri Lanka may come on board for next year. An own carnival may succeed or may not but it will be known as the copy cat event. Of course, good ideas should be absorbed, lessons from others must be learned, but that also applies to for instance airline issues where again Seychelles found a partner with Etihad and here those responsible in government still try to do their own thing. Air Mauritius keeps losing money and still keeps competition out of the Mauritius when we should grab any chance for more seats to our island. The Seychelles have opened up and now have as many as four flights a day between the Gulf and Mahe on different airlines. And Air Seychelles is reviving with a new concept. I feel this development once again highlights that there is a need to fundamentally change the way we do business in aviation and in promoting our country. The private sector has to become more involved, bureaucrats must make way for marketers and we should seek to partner with our neighbours and not cause affronts. If your source is right, La Reunion and Seychelles will get the message loud and clear that Mauritius tourism is not interested in good neighbourly relations and it may in fact impact on the entire Vanilla Island concept. And to be honest, if this is really happening it will just build on creating more divisions within Mauritius itself where unlike in Seychelles the ethnic lines are too visible and have in the past been divisive instead of uniting us through variety.
In view of the short time between receiving the information last night it was not possible to receive any official or inofficial comments from the Seychelles or from La Reunion what their reaction would be, should Mauritius set up a rival festival and to what degree it would affect the hitherto friendly though competitive cooperation between the islands. It was already some weeks ago pointed out by another source from Mauritius, a senior media correspondent met earlier in the year in Victoria, that following a hugely successful media blitz by the new Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange, when on his recent visit to Mauritius he held a press conference and offered open media interaction a record number from the media turned up to cover the event, some officials at MTPA took offense that a Seychellois should steal their limelight. He said on condition of anonymity probably to protect his own upcoming story line as and when: Personally I think it is a bad joke if true. I will in the morning try to find out about it. St. Ange charmed us all when he was here but he also got the facts speaking for himself. Charm and smiles in his case is backed up by years of uninterrupted success since he joined STB. MTPA is hugely controversial here. And La Reunion and Seychelles are already aligned now. What will the other Vanilla Islands make of it if MTPA would really do such a thing. Would they side with those who offer partnership or those who are jealous of every single bit of success of the others and act of envy and might try to steal from them too given a chance.
Mauritius had in the past reportedly tried their hand on a Creole Festival, as is successfully being staged at United Seychelles every year but never did manage to make it the high profile affair it should and could be and various sources, when questioning that in the past suggested that perhaps ethnic rivalries were to blame for that, admitting that a united Mauritius would arguably do better than the present visible differences.
This correspondent had in the past had issues with MTPA not responding to mails addressed to Mr. Karl, MTPAs CEO but continued to give Mauritius exposure with sources from the private sector making their success stories known instead of MTPA trumpeting stories from the roof tops as STB does from Bel Ombre on Mahe. And as this for sure is not the last we have heard of this breaking news story, stay tuned and as the saying goes here, Watch This Space.