Seychelles is taking the lead in promoting regional tourism and will host a travel and tourism mart with the member states of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) next year to give the industry a further boost.
This comes in the wake of the enthusiastic support that Seychelles and other Vanilla Islands member states of Reunion, Comoros, Mauritius, Mayotte provided to Madagascar for its International Tourism Trade Fair held at the end of May.
Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange in the company of Derek Savy, the Director of Marketing for the Vanilla Islands, met with the IOR-ARC Secretary General, KV ,recently in Mauritius where the 19-nation group is headquartered.
The IOR-ARC confirmed that the tourism ministers of its member states would come together in the tourism mart in Seychelles in 2014 to discuss how to strengthen and expand the region’s tourism industry. This mart will not only open new avenues for the region but it will further strengthen and solidify the Vanilla Islands organization in its quest to generate more visibility and growth in tourism.
India, Bangladesh, Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Seychelles are members of the IOR-ARC set up in Mauritius in 1997. China, Japan, Egypt, France, and Britain have the status of dialogue partners in the group.
The importance of the Indian Ocean, the world’s third largest, as a trade corridor and energy highway is being seen as undeniable as it provides passage to half of the international container ships and more than 70 percent of crude and oil shipments. And the possibilities for tourism growth and expansion within the region are massive.
The association is conducting a tourism feasibility study in the region of which the second phase will commence soon. This study will be vital for the proper planning and strategy formulation, aimed at mapping out the future development of this vital sector within the region.
During the meeting, the Secretary General and the Minister also discussed strengthening cooperation between the IOR-ARC and the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization, a group currently headed by Minister St.Ange who was re-elected as its President for a second term during the annual meeting in Madagascar on June 1 following a joint motion presented by La Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros, and Mayotte for the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture to consider leading the organization for a second year.