The July issue of Business & Finance Magazine has published a long interview with Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture. Tourism is the pillar of the Seychelles economy, and it was Walter Confait, himself a former hotelier and known marketing personality, who conducted this two-page interview with the Seychelles Minister. As he congratulated the Minister on his appointment as the head of the country’s tourism industry, Mr. Confait said that certainly Minister St.Ange is a “master mariner” and will manage with great capability. Mr. Walter Confait went on to question the Minister on his first moves.
“My first priority will be to study the terrain and move accordingly. Now that culture has entered the equation, there is the need to synchronize the dynamics of culture and tourism to ensure that they feed off each other’s energy to optimum advantage,” Minister St.Ange replied. Seychelles has adopted a style of tourism which seeks to implicate the Seychellois people in its development. This style they called the “Seychelles Brand of Tourism,” and it was coined by President Michel himself when he held the portfolio for tourism. “There can be no consolidation of our tourism industry if we have no culture, and we cannot have culture if we have no people,” the Seychelles Minister said.
In the interview, Minister St.Ange refers to the recession in Europe and about the decline in visitor arrival numbers from the Seychelles traditional core markets of France, Italy, and the UK, which prompted the islands to diversify its market base. “It is for this reason that Seychelles needs to diversify its markets, and at the moment there are encouraging signs coming from the Middle East and the Far East. However, we shall be looking at the Americas and the Eastern Bloc countries, in fact, we shall not leave any stone unturned in our search for new markets,” Minister St.Ange said.
The interview with the Business&Finance Magazine also touches on direct air access between Seychelles and Europe since the cessation of services by Air Seychelles. The Minister accepted that the cessation by Air Seychelles has created a vacuum which the Tourism Board is still looking at options available. “That is still work in progress,” the Minister said as he also highlighted that with the hub concept in place between the Middle East Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and Kenya Airways, Seychelles was now effectively one stop from anywhere.
The Business&Finance Magazine also touched on with Minister St.Ange the island’s safety label. “This is most important, and we are keenly aware of this and shall be collaborating with the relevant agencies to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of our tourists,” the Minister said.