Delegates from the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, La Reunion and Comoros gathered in Mauritius this week with airlines serving the region now called the “Vanilla Islands,” to take stock of the situation on hand and to discuss the way forward.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Mauritian Minister for Tourism&Leisure, Mr. Nandcoomar Bodha and the President of the Region–La Reunion, Mr. Didier Robert, and assisted by Dr. Karl Mootoosamy, the Director of the MTPA of Mauritius; Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board; Pascal Viroleau, Head of La Reunion Tourism; Joel Randriamandranto, the President of the Madagascar Tourism Council; and Guy Hissane from the Comoros Tourism Association.
Representatives from Air Mauritius, Air France, Air Seychelles, Air Austral, Corsairfly, Comair, Air Madagascar, Emirates, Condor, South African Airways, British Airways Transaero, and Meridianafly all were on hand to discuss with the representatives from five of the six islands forming the “Vanilla Islands” group.
The main conclusions of the meeting were as follows:
1. It was agreed at the meeting to recognize the importance of air access in the Vanilla Islands group as key to the realization of the marketing plan for the Vanilla Islands.
2. It was agreed by all present to be engaged in pushing movements and access between the islands of the group.
3. It was agreed to encourage the development of twin- or three-island packages.
4. It was agreed to support the creation of a airline rate structure applicable for the Vanilla Islands region.
5. It was agreed to support a special fare for a two- or three-destination visit within the Vanilla Islands region.
6. It was agreed to join together to get maximum visibility for the Vanilla Islands group and region.
7. All present confirmed their support for the creation of necessary joint mechanisms of the group of Vanilla Islands to enable the creation of the Vanilla Islands network.
Seychelles was also represented at the meeting by Elsia Grandcourt, the Deputy CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board.
Alain St.Ange, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board said on his return to Seychelles on Tuesday that the meeting showed the clear desire by all present to unite and to be marketed together. “A lot has been done and a lot will be done to join forces to better promote our region. The meeting was needed and having both Minister Bodha from Mauritius and Mr. Robert, the President de la Region–La Reunion, demonstrated the commitment from the two islands,” Alain St.Ange said.
At the opening his statement at the Mauritius Meeting, Mr. St.Ange said that Seychelles stood behind the togetherness spirit for its island group. He conveyed greetings from the Seychelles President Michel, who was currently holding the tourism portfolio for the islands, who wished the Mauritius Meeting success.