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Mauritius Tourism Promotion Office (MTPA) questions regional cooperation?

February 4, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Seychelles-TravelTroubling news out of Mauritius this weekend coming from the private sector tourism trade.

Karl Mootoosamy, CEO of the MTPA of Mauritius

Karl Mootoosamy, CEO of the MTPA of Mauritius

Karl Mootoosamy, the Head of the MTPA (Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority) is echoing messages that goes against what Minister Anil Gayan, the island’s Minister for Foreign Affairs is saying with regards to Regional Integration and cooperation. It is also a Mauritian National, Jean Claude de L’Estrac, who is today at the head of the Indian Ocean Commission (COI) the grouping in which sits Mauritius, La Reunion, Madagascar, Seychelles and Comoros. The Head Quarters of this Regional Office sits in Mauritius and only weeks ago celebrated their 30th Anniversary in Seychelles.

The tourism industry has been suffering lately and many want to see unity in the Indian Ocean Region to help push tourism in the region. Yesterday after news broke in Mauritius that Karl Mootoosamy was questioning regional cooperation, a group of tourism entrepreneurs made clear to International Press correspondents that they were ready to become the unofficial tourism body of Mauritius and to represent the island at Regional Organisation and even lead a Mauritius Delegation to the Carnival in Seychelles, the event that seems to continuously irritate the MTPA of Mauritius. “We will be the dynamic tourism body promoting our island with our Regional Partners, and we can leave the MTPA to sit and do what they do best the walt of hesitation putting one step forward and and step back as the tourism industry suffers” they said.

Year after year go bye, but they continue to resemble each other for Mauritius. It is always the waltz of hesitation for the MTPA. “On step forward, and one step back” is the policy that characterises the tourism policy of Mauritius. As much as Mauritius is part of the regional tourism body of the Vanilla Islands, they do not know at this late stage if they will be participating in the coming Carnival of Victoria in Seychelles. The decision of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and of Karl Mootoosamy, their CEO is to happily state his disgust for neighbouring islands as his regional tourism policy.

“Mirror, mirror, are we to the prettiest!”

News coming out of Mauritius from the island’s tourism and hotel groups is that the MTPA and their CEO presented a report seeking to showcase that Mauritius has nothing to gain from the Vanilla Islands and that gains for Mauritius would come from elsewhere. Mauritius should remove itself from the regional tourism body that itself helped create with the region. The MTPA and their CEO seems to forget that it was Mauritius that was behind regional cooperation that helped create the Indian Ocean Commission (COI), the organisation that only recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary. Today the MTPa and their CEO are saying that Mauritius should not be part and parcel of the Vanilla Islands, the body that comes from and was instituted from the the Indian Ocean Commission (COI). Is Mauritius the destabilisation factor of the regional cooperation it has itself helped create? What will Minister Michael Sik-Yuen now do?

Mauritius is often reminded of the incident in Parliament when the former Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth was trying to establish a clear position for his Minister responsible for Health. « You should listen less to the advisers from the ministry. Make your own thinking.» On the fundamental question of Regional Cooperation, the Minister responsible for Tourism would be misguided to listen all what the MTPA and their CEO are telling him. As the tourism industry of Mauritius is earning less and less from the European Market, the MTPA and their CEO are sulking because the Seychelles has been able to achieve added visibility through their Carnaval de Victoria now referred to as the Carnival of carnivals that attracts year after year journalists coming from the four corners of the world.

La Reunion, Madagascar, Mayotte (and even KwaZulu Natal of South Africa) have already decided to become co-hosts for the next carnival with its explosion of culture and colour. The Carnaval de Victoria had last year s participants: Barzil, Germany, Belgium, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, South Africa, Zambia and the UK (Notting Hill Carnival). The 4th edition of the Carnaval de Victoria will have an added advantage as it will be covered by OI7 TV, the new regional television of the Vanilla Islands, another major step forward in the history of Regional Cooperation. ‘We have been dreaming of this Regional Television, it is today a reality and a great success’ Stephen Sparks writes on his newswire Soca News covering the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

« The private TV station is part of the regional tourism marketing initiative, Vanilla Islands, which aims to strengthen ties between the scattered islands of the Indian Ocean. Romain Atohoun, president of OI7, told media outlet eTurboNews that the “station will give a fresh positioning to regional tourism, culture and event programmes aired within the Vanilla Islands and on to the world. OI7’s cameras will have plenty to focus on, for established events such as Seychelles’ Festival Kreol (October) and Réunion’s Festival Liberté Métisse (December) are due to be supplemented by a new beauty contest covering the Indian Ocean region. No date for the event has been announced, but the plan is that the chosen Miss Iles Vanilles will go on to compete in the 2014 Miss Universe contest, which will be held in Fortaleza, Brazil, in October.”

Information received states that Spike Lee and Naomi Campbell, friends of Romain Atohoun, President of OI7TV will probably travel to the Indian Ocean for the launch of the Regional Television of the Vanilla Islands set for the month of April.

The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands comprises of Comoros, La Reunion, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mayotte and the Seychelles. It is believed that Sri Lanka, Zanzibar and Mozambique Islands wishes to also join the regional tourism body of the Indian Ocean.

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