The Board of RETOSA, the tourism organization for Southern African countries, ended on July 12 with a gala dinner at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort&Casino with an address by Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.
Counting over more than thirty delegates from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and members of the Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa, (RETOSA), the closing ceremony’s gala dinner, hosted by the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture and the Seychelles Tourism Board CEO Elsia Grandcourt was the ideal opportunity for Seychelles to showcase the Creole tastes of its cuisine and music to the delegates after their two days of intensive debate.
The RETOSA Board meeting, which opened for the first time in Seychelles on July 11 at the International Conference Centre, under the auspices of the Seychelles Tourism Board, resulted in debates on the running and objectives of the body.
The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board commended this achievement stating to the local media: “Seychelles is set to benefit from the marketing aspects of this relation with other countries in the region.
“As you know, RETOSA is the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa. It is there to promote regional integration in terms of its membership so that we are able to work closely together in terms of different strategies to enhance development and visibility of the region to the outside market. In particular, we are targeting both traditional source markets and also the BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China.”
Regional integration issues that were tabled included how best the SADC region can tap into the world’s emerging markets of the BRIC countries.
Delegates of the high-level delegation, comprised of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Tanzania, also addressed issues which included regional tourism growth and strategy for the region, growth of infrastructure, as well as a tourism master plan for the region for the year 2012 and beyond.
Minister Alain St.Ange used his address at the Closing Ceremony’s Gala Dinner to congratulate all the delegates present for their fruitful deliberations at the Seychelles meeting of the RETOSA Board. He took the opportunity to speak about the need for Africa to work with Africa and to get to know Africa.
“I am often reminded of a speech delivered by the South African Minister responsible for tourism at the launch of INDABA 2012. The Minister said that as we all look at diversifying our tourism markets, we need to be reminded of Africa. This is and will remain the biggest growth market for South African tourism, the South African Minister said. He is right, and Seychelles believes that we all need to work more together and promote each other in twin-center campaigns.
“This is why we in Seychelles coined the ‘From the Big Five… to the Best Five’ campaign to take in the safari concept of mainland Africa with the beaches of Seychelles. Africa is strong and will be stronger if we all work together. We have wildlife, and we have fishing, we have mines, and we have oil. We have everything, but thrust in each other and too often, we do not have the will to work together,” Minister Alain St.Ange said.
RETOSA declared their Seychelles meeting a success.