The Ministry of Tourism and Culture in collaboration with the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) and l’Institut de la Francophonie pour le developpement durable hosted a three-day workshop on sustainable tourism in the Small Island Developing States.
Held at the Savoy Resort and Spa in the northern part of Mahe, the workshop was officially opened this week by the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange in the presence of the Foreign Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan, French ambassador to Seychelles Lionel Majesté-Larrouy, principal secretary for culture Benjamine Rose, chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board Sherin Francis,
Also present were the ambassador and director of the Bureau régional de l’OIF pour l’océan Indien (BROI) Malik Sarr and representatives of the tourism sector hailing from Seychelles, Madagascar, São Tomé and Principe, Mauritius, Comoros and Guinea-Bissau.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Sarr said the IOF puts a lot of emphasis and importance on the development of sustainable tourism. Mr Sarr added that tourism is an industry that offers extraordinary potentials in the developed countries as well as developing ones.
Mr Sarr echoed words of thanks to the government of Seychelles for accepting to have this workshop hosted here.
Officially opening the workshop, Minister St.Ange said it has always been seen that sustainable tourism is solely about the natural environment.
Yes, it is indeed important for us to preserve and protect the beauty of our natural surroundings, but we must also include our culture in the development of sustainable tourism, he added.
Minister St.Ange said there is no culture without our people, and the foundation of a sustainable tourism industry is when we put our people at the centre of its development.
He also spoke about the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label, which has as one of its criteria the inclusion of culture in the tourism establishments. On this note Minister St.Ange said if we do not have our culture at the base of our industry, then we will not have a sustainable tourism sector.
He added that it is important for us to reflect on sustainable tourism and its development and to realise that it encompasses more than just protecting the natural environment.
He added that Seychelles is an ideal place to host such workshops on sustainable tourism as we are a group of islands that has tourism as the pillar of its economy.