“Seychelles is accessible as never before,” so said the island’s Minister of Tourism as he transited in Dubai enroute to Australia last Saturday morning. “Today, Seychelles is connected as never before. We have flights that connect us to any part of the world and this daily and even twice a day on most days. Our discerning passengers have the option of First Class, Business Class, or Economy, as they have the option of our five- and six-star luxury resorts or the small home-grown accommodation units for their stay in paradise,” said Alain St.Ange, the Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.
The Seychelles Minister St.Ange often uses the stopovers to meet the press, and it is not the first time he has done this in Dubai. With informative and frank messages always, the Seychelles Minister said that he remains prepared to discuss anything.
Today, different press houses quizzed Minister Alain St.Ange on air access, and it was the Minister’s opportunity to take on the question that some flights from Europe are full, making it hard to get seats to connect with these daily flights on to Seychelles. “Book early and book as you confirm your holidays. But [what] I can tell you is that for Emirates, as an example, they are introducing more A380 aircrafts on to the different European cities. This will increase the availability of seats into Dubai, in this instance, and that should enable more feeder seats into flights to Seychelles,” Minister St.Ange said.
Seychelles is happy with its association with Emirates via Dubai, Etihad/Air Seychelles via Abu Dhabi, and Qatar via Doha. This was made clear by the Minister.
The island’s annual carnival was also discussed. A full page promoting the carnival was in the Emirates In-flight Magazine for a whole month, a Dubai-based press said, and to questions about which airline would be the Official Airline Partner for 2013, the Minister had this to say: “We have had Emirates for the last two years as our Official Airline Partner. We have been happy with this partnership, as it is, we believe, a win-win for both the airline and for us as the destination. I know that the CEO of the Tourism Board has been in touch with Emirates on this very matter and soon we shall be in a position to announce the 2013 Official Airline Partner and also the Co-hosts for the 2013 edition of this unique Carnival of Carnivals. The first edition Seychelles successfully hosted the carnival all alone, for the second edition La Reunion island, a sister Indian Ocean Carnival island joined with us as Co-host. For the 2013 edition, we can assure you that this Indian Ocean Vanilla Island carnival on the equatorial belt will come out with new surprises. We can only say that it will be even bigger, better, and true to its slogan, the melting pot of cultures.”
On the bid by Seychelles for the UN Security Council, which has been just announced, Minister Alain St.Ange said that small does not make Seychelles nonexistent. “We have shown that we are an active member of the UN and of other world bodies we are affiliated with. Our government has shown its leadership role and its ability even as a small island state. On the plague of piracy, we have displayed our seriousness and determination to work with the Community of Nations to free the African Sea Route of Pirates. It was not a Seychelles affair, but a world problem, and we went out as true leaders to play our part, as these bandits increased cost of travel for world trade along the African Coast. They were a hindrance to food security, and we could not just sit and do nothing. We understand the plight of small island states as we are one of them, and this point of view must be heard in bodies representing the Community of Nations.
“We have and we are still playing our part to resolve the Madagascar political situation. Our President, Mr. James Michel joined hands with President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, as [did the] Indian Ocean Commission and SADC, to help a neighboring state out of a dilemma affecting the consolidation of its economy.
“We have shown the way in the protecting of our environment and have to date over 50 percent of our total land area declared as national parks. We are conscious that we need to be good custodians for what we have been blessed with and ensure that the world has today and they will have tomorrow a protected paradise as an example as what we could all have been,” Minister St.Ange said in ending his press briefing.