Mr. Jim Flannery, a UNWTO consultant, is in Seychelles to relook at the structure of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and that of the newly-formed Ministry of Tourism. The Tourism Board is a private sector-led organization in what has been seen as a success story in public-private sector partnerships. Alain St.Ange was the CEO of this organization, with Louis D’Offay as the industry’s Association Chairman, which met under the Chairmanship of Barry Faure, the Secretary of State in the President’s Office.
The request for the assistance of the consultant was made during the visit to Seychelles early this year by Mr. Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO’s Secretary General, when he was a guest of honor at the annual March Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Carnival, the “Carnaval International de Victoria,” which was co-hosted by Seychelles and La Reunion.
It was during that Seychelles visit that President James Michel of the Seychelles received Mr. Taleb Rifai at State House, and during the discussions, the question was made about the possibility of a UNWTO consultant being sent on a mission to the Seychelles to re-look at the existing structure of the Seychelles Tourism Board. The President, who then still held the portfolio of tourism, welcomed the idea from Secretary General Mr. Rifai.
The UNWTO consultant, Mr. Jim Flannery, who is based in Ireland, was in Seychelles last week on that mission. Mr. Flannery met with Elsia Grandcourt CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, and looked together at the Terms of Reference before he proceeded to meet first with the different heads of section of the Tourism Board and it’s team members and with different stakeholders of the tourism industry from the SHTA, Ministry of Finance, port authority, hotel operators, DMCs, etc.
Mr. Flannery also had discussions with stakeholders of the tourism industry on the isles of Praslin and La Digue. The Chairman of the Tourism Board, Mr. Barry Faure, has also been closely following the proceedings of the mission and personally met with Mr. Flannery. The latter has expressed satisfaction on the openness of discussions received from both the public and private sector and the ease of getting access to information and data he was required to amass in order to compile his report. He has advised that the report will be ready in a month’s time which will be presented to the UNWTO head office in Spain for their comments before being forwarded to Seychelles. Once this is received, it will be presented to the STB board members to evaluate and decide whether to adopt the recommendations that will transpire out of the report.
This project has come at an opportune time now that the Tourism Board falls within the new Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is important for Seychelles to establish the role of the ministry and that of the Board of Directors of the Tourism Board and responsibilities of the CEO of the Board and her team. Before his departure, Mr. Flannery called on Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture, for a courtesy call and to discuss a few more ideas on what could be adopted for the tourism industry here. This short meeting also had the presence of Mr. Pascal Viroleau, Head of La Reunion Tourism, who was here on a short mission and who will be traveling to the UNWTO head office in Spain soon for a work mission.