Seychelles has joined the eastern and southern African cruise industry as well as that of the Indian Ocean to seek new strategies for sustainable cruise tourism and to see how the competitive edge and market share within the international cruise business can be improve.
These strategies were being discussed at a workshop held this week at the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA). The workshop was organised by the Port Management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa region (PMAESA) jointly with the Cruise Indian Ocean Association (CIOA), Seychelles Ports Authority and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
Attending the opening ceremony held on Tuesday were the PMAESA secretary general Nozipho Mdawe and the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan and that of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Alain St.Ange.
Also present were the chief executives of port authorities, tourism boards and cruise operators from Africa and the Indian Ocean as well as other partners involved in the cruise tourism industry.
The workshop also gave delegates the chance to work together on new strategies for the marketing of the region as a cruise destination. In his opening address, Minister Morgan said cruise and super-yacht tourism is characterised by bringing large numbers of people to concentrated areas of the destinations for brief periods.
The aim of the conference which was held over two days was to bring more awareness on the sustainable development of cruise tourism, develop cruise tourism strategies and to catalyse collaboration in the region.
Miss Mdawe said Seychelles is listed as one of the best places to have on the itinerary by several cruise liners operating in the Indian Ocean. Hence, Seychelles is considered to be a valuable partner of the cruise tourism industry of eastern and southern Africa, she added.
On his part, Minister St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture said cruise ships coming to Seychelles are part and parcel of the blue economy. Our tourism industry depends on that blue economy and our country is one of the key promoters of the blue economy. He added that Seychelles acts as a bridge between the African and Asian ports, and promotes the diversity that exists in this region. “We believe in working together because no island can be an island unto itself. This is why with the islands of the Indian Ocean we have created the Vanilla islands and we are now successfully working in closer partnership with Cruise Ship Companies such as Costa Cruises and Silversea Cruises. We are also actively working within the IORA and the East3Route of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, the Kingdom of Swaziland, Mozambique and Seychelles) to push for more focus on the cruise ship industry. Today we can say that Seychelles and the Vanilla islands are the bridge between Africa and Asia and we need to all rally to promote this region as the Cruise Ship route with diversity because we have Africa, the Vanilla Islands and Asia all working together as a region” said Minister St.Ange
The Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture invited the PMAESA to work with the Seychelles Ports Authority and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Seychelles to organize a followup meeting between the Ports of the Region and Cruise Ship Operators in order to move the discussions of this latest seychelles meeting further for the benefit of the people of the region and for the consolidation of the economy of the countries of the region.