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“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one” said the Seychelles Minister as he opened the 2014 carnival using the words of John Lenno

April 29, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Seychelles-TravelIn the presence of Mr James Michel, the President of the Republic of Seychelles Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, had the honor to officially launch the the 2014 edition of the Caraval International de Victoria.

Minister St.Ange delivered his address after Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board had welcomed everyone to the 1st event of the carnival that is this year being jointly co-hosted by Seychelles, La Reunion, Madagascar, Mayotte and South Africa KwaZulu Natal.

OFFICIAL OPENING OF CARNIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE VICTORIA 2014When he took to the podium, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture delivered a passional address where he thanked the 21 International Delegations participating in this years carnival parade and also the local participants. He had but words of appreciation for the 151 members of the International Press fraternity who had flown to Seychelles to cover the 2014 edition of the Carnival of Carnivals as the event was now called by the press because it remains the only carnival able to attract all the best and most known carnivals to parade together followed by cultural troupes from the Community of Nations.

Minister St.Ange as he thanked everyone who had travelled to Seychelles and also the co-hosts of the carnival: “To everyone here for the 2014 Edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria you all know why you are here in this manifestation where your culture is showcased to keep your country relevant in the world of tourism. Others may say we are dreamers, but we’re not the only one. We hope someday these others will join us, And the world will live as one” to restate the spirit behind the words of the John Lennon, these words that are so suited to what we are all doing together for our region and for the world at large” the Seychelles Minister said.

Below is the speech delivered by Minister St.Ange at the opening ceremony:-

“Today is four years since most of us sat in Victoria for the official opening by President James Michel of the first edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria.

Now, four years later, this mid-ocean event, this carnival in the tropics has grown in size, it has grown to become the single biggest event staged in Seychelles, it has grown in number of participating delegations, it has grown in the number of International Press who fly to Seychelles to cover the tropical carnival of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands.

Even the co-hosts have grown in numbers. La Reunion Island has worked with us from day one because President Didier Robert, did not only say he believed in working together to make the region’s tourism industry grow for the benefit of everyone, but he worked at it, and he left no stones unturned to help the region get to where we are today. But today we also welcome Madagascar, Mayotte and South Africa KwaZulu Natal as joint co-hosts with Seychelles and La Reunion. Thank you for believing that in working together the region will grow, thank you for believing that Africa must work with Africa if Africa is to have a strong tourism industry, and a better economy as we all join together to showcase the spirit of UNITY to the world at large.

President James Michel, Dignitaries, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 2010 you said MrPresident, that the Tourism Board should move away from only selling Seychelles using sun, sea and sand, even though we all knew we had probably the very best for such holidays. Mr President you said that it was time to move to be an events based destination, and one where our culture would be given its rightful place, and in so doing you said, that our people would be positioned at the centre of our country’s marketing. Our culture you went on to say has our very own and unique DNA.

This line of approach we took, and many of our friends here with us for the 2014 edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria also believed in that new approach, the approach of showcasing one’s culture and people in making tourism destinations more visible and in ensuring that we all remain relevant in the world of tourism. In so doing we are all saying that we are not ashamed of our culture, and that we respect our people enough to place them at the center of our development.

Twenty six International Delegations coming from right across the world have flown to Seychelles for this edition of the carnival. They are being followed, covered and filmed by 151 journalists. President Michel, Dignitaries, Ladies and Gentlemen, we wanted to bring the world together and show how in Unity we can have a strong tourism industry and more. To all those who are not here for this edition I only have this to say: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will live as one”. These words echoed by John Lennon are so suited to what we are all doing together for our region and for the world at large.

Welcome also to all Ministers, Heads of Delegations and Chief Executives of Tourism Departments. Welcome to the delegations who are faithful supporters of this unique carnival aptly named the carnival of carnivals, because we manage to continue to attract the best and all the most popular carnivals to parade together in the streets of Victoria followed by cultural troupes from the Community of Nations.

The Notting Hill Carnival Roadshow Company, have been here in Seychelles since the first edition of our carnival. They are collection the largest carnival in Europe. Notting Hill of the UK says “We are the people of Carnival” and it is our pleasure to again welcome you back to the Carnival of Carnivals.

The same words of welcome go to Sao Paulo delegation from the heart of the Brazil carnival. We also welcome the Dusseldorf Carnival of Germany, the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, the Carnival from Italy and the Carnival from Indonesia. We value your participation, as we value the participation of all the cultural troupes from the Community of Nations. By being here in this cultural extravaganza, you are all saying to the world that you are proud of your culture, and in so doing, you are saying that you are proud of your people.

It is because of all of you that Claire Holder of Notting Hill Carnival wrote to me and said: “We at Notting Hill are more than happy to attend, participate and perform at the Seychelles Carnival, which has now become one of the top five carnivals in the world because of its diversity of culture and its ability to generate social capital and social cohesion” Thank you Claire and thank you to all the participating delegations. To everyone here for the 2014 Edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria you all know why you are here in this manifestation where your culture is showcase to keep your country relevant in the world of tourism. Others may say we are dreamers, but we’re not the only one. We hope someday these others will join us, And the world will live as one” to restate the spirit behind the words of the John Lennon, these words that are so suited to what we are all doing together for our region and for the world at large.

 

What a better gathering this Carnaval International de Victoria is for all of us who believe in a consolidated world of tourism. We all know that our respective tourism offices spend a fortune annually attending Tourism Trade Fairs across the world in search of that visibility that helps to ensure we all remain relevant tourism destinations. Tourism Ministers and Chairmen and Chief Executive of Tourism Offices present will all agree that nowhere can you interact with so many important press as you are able to do here in this carnival of carnivals. Here you do not dish out colourful glossy brochures, but you stand in front of the world to be counted as a tourism destination as you showcase your culture, and in so doing your people to demonstrate that you have more to show to visitors who visit you.

President Michel, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tonight on behalf of Seychelles, I wish to call on all our people living in the four corners of the world. Let us make the year 2015 the ‘Seychellois Homecoming’ to enable them all to appreciate what is taking place in Seychelles. The dates for the 2015 Carnaval International de Victoria is April 24, 25, 26 April 2015. Let us all, everyone of us get messages out to our friends, family and acquaintance, let us ask our brothers and sisters to be in Seychelles for the 2015 edition of the carnival in Seychelles. 

(Translated from French to English)

Mr James Michel, President of the Republic, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Seychelles remains faithful to the role expected of us in the region. We, like the other islands of the Indian Ocean, have delegated our best representatives to work together to position our region as the New Tourist Region. The International Carnival in Victoria is the Seychelles event on the list of Vanilla Islands’ events which shows the diversity of our region, next to the Salon International du Tourisme de Madagascar in May, the Liberte Metisse de La Reunion in December and la fete Culturel et Gastronomique of the Comoros in August. All these cultural events of our Indian Ocean region strengthen cooperation and promotion actions in the field of tourism. This is the reason why the islands continue to participate in events which appear on the Vanilla Islands’ calendar, to encourage the success of these events that put the Vanilla Islands region at the fore front. 

If WTO, World Tourism Organisation acknowledges the Organisation of Vanilla Islands, it is because we remain a group which aims to consolidate the Indian Ocean as the new tourist region, and this will ensure that the islanders of our respective islands will continue to feel involved in their tourism industry and they will defend and they will protect because their tourist industry belongs to them.

Our region remains dynamic. We have our assets that will continue to attract visitors to our islands. We are pursuing the blue economy in all its spirit, we look at a new departure in the field of air access, on this point we thank President Didier Robert for his personal support in helping resume flights of Air Austral between Seychelles and Reunion Island. We know how to work together and we even showas a lesson to the world such as the signing by the Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam and the Seychelles President James Michel to ensure that our two islands jointly operate a maritime extension of territories in our region. This spirit of work in mutual respect is today served as an example to the world.

(Translated from Creole to English)

President Michel, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen 

Today all of us in Seychelles should be proud that even though we are a small country, we are capable of organising an international event which continues to grow year after year. Today all of us, you, me, the government have been able to bring a bigger group of journalists to Seychelles, here in our capital Victoria. This will bring more visibility to our country on a bigger scale than ever before. Yes Seychellois, we have moved and we have taken this giant step forward, because we all believe in this activity. Working together brings success. 

I thank you all for your words of encouragement, for your help and your support. Yes all Seychellois, yes, all Seychellois have reason to enjoy this event here in our country. However, let us not forget that we are welcoming many guests here in the country. Let us continue to show what we are, a hospitable Seychellois people with a joie de vivre that is admired by all our visitors.

Tomorrow is the day of the parade, this is the biggest event that Seychelles has ever seen. There is room for all Seychellois to watch and appreciate the parade where all the best carnivals in the world will parade together. “Ti maman met ou grand jupe, desan pour sa carnival,” as John Wirtz told us. Yes we have all the reasons to participate, to bring our grandmothers and grandfathers. Bring the children and grand-children, carnival season comes just once every year.

Seychellois brothers and sisters, this carnaval is an event for our tourism industry. Thank you for working with the Seychelles Tourism Board, thank you for believing that this industry is the one which remains the pillar of our economy, for all Seychellois. When the industry does well, all Seychellois benefit from its effect. But when it does not work, all Seychellois are affected by the different repercussions when the economy retracts. Seychellois, let us continue to work together to consolidate our industry, let us continue to defend and protect our country’s tourism industry. We will continue to do all we can to get more Seychellois involvement in this industry, to ensure that Seychelles and Seychellois, first and foremost, are the ones that benefit from our industry. 

Mr President, Dignitaries, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Tomorrow is carnival day. It will be great because the concept of the melting pot of cultures will again this year be so real. You will all see an explosion of colour and an explosion of culture in the streets of Victoria. And Sunday we shall see for the first time the Kiddies Carnival. The introduction of the Kiddies is to work with the future of Seychelles, our young school children and their teachers who are working to create carnival costumes that should have a ‘Made in Seychelles’ label on them, because these creation will be from Seychelles for Seychelles, and in the future they will be seen in the main carnival parade of the Carnaval International de Victoria. A new addition set to attract eager parents and teachers to see our youth show off their skills.

We are getting used to this annual carnival treat, the treat that sees the world descend on Seychelles beyond political affiliation, beyond religious beliefs and beyond colour of skin an ethnic origin. Here people are people and it is the only world event, staged for the Community of Nations where everyone is respected as a person.Even in the General Assembly of the United Nations when some World Leaders stand to deliver their address, some delegates walk out, but here respect for everyone is and will remain key to the ties of friendship and togetherness, these ties we are all working to deliver for the Community of Nations at large”.

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