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Welcome to Edition #4 of Volume #3 of 2019

January 30, 2019 Visit Africa / Seychelles No Comments Email Email

The Editorial this week highlights:- a. Welcome to Joël RANDRIAMANDRANTO – Madagascar’s new Minister of Tourism!. b. Reflecting on Seychelles’ tourism sector’s achievements and challenges. c. Semuliki National Park, Uganda, scraps nature walk fees as Seychelles increases National Park Fees. d. Kenya’s Najib Balala, CS Tourism & Anita Menrdiratta of CNN TASK meet at FITUR in Spain. e. For Africa to Rise it has to Fly – Carmen Nibigira. f. Naomy King – “Participating is winning” . Stand alone articles this week:- 1. Sky to broadcast first live TV news coverage of underwater world – Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, will take place around Aldabra. 2. Mason’s Travel takes the ‘people’s industry’ mission a step further and hosts a Special Birthday Surprise. 3. Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie of La Digue is home to visiting delegation out to strengthen Indonesia & Seychelles cooperation. 4. Le Nautique Luxury Waterfront Hotel & Le Domaine de L’Orangeraie top La Digue hotels by Trip Advisor . 5. Madagascar has a new Government. 6. President Didier Robert of Reunion meets H. E. Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar to discuss Regional Cooperation. 7. Africa underrepresented in TripAdvisor’s Global Best listings. 8. Reunion Island forges ahead with cruise tourism welcoming Queen Elizabeth and THE WORLD last week. 9. Vanilla Islands – how it started. 10. “Zil Dyaman” (Diamond Island) book is published by Jernin Hoareau in Australia. 11. Ethiopian Airlines to streamline and increase flights to the United States. 12. Vanilla Islanders Maryvonne Pool and Vijay Poonoosamy at Davos 2019. 13. African Regional ports body appoints Col Andre Ciseau of Seychelles as SG of PMAESA. 14. Luxury Tents for visitors make for light constructions in fragile natural environments. 15. Cruise tourism brings economic opportunities to Western Cape. 16. The Tourism Legacy of Minister Alain St.Ange (Archives – Blast from the past). 17. Ken Chou, the well appreciated hotel General Manager when posted in Seychelles at the centre of looking for missing footballer Sala. 18. First recycled-plastic dhow makes Kenya-Zanzibar trip.19. Closing Notes.

Welcome to Edition 4 of our Volume 3 series. Today, as we start, we salute the nomination of Joël RANDRIAMANDRANTO as the new Tourism Minister of Madagascar and we move on to reflect on Seychelles Tourism.
Welcome to Joël RANDRIAMANDRANTO – Madagascar’s new Minister of Tourism!

Standing with Minister Joël RANDRIAMANDRANTO
at a Vanilla Islands meeting

Congratulations to a dear friend, Joël RANDRIAMANDRANTO, who has been appointed as the Minister responsible for Transport, Tourism & Meteorological Services. Joel is someone who believes in togetherness in the Indian Ocean Islands and was one of the five Heads of Tourism Boards who sat together in 2010 at the first meeting to form the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, which was followed by my election as its first President. His appointment comes at the time when the Vanilla Islands family will see the Presidency once again taken over by Seychelles in February. The far-sighted Minister Joël RANDRIAMANDRANTO and President Didier ROBERT of La Reunion, worked hard with Minister Nando BODHA of Mauritius and myself way back in 2010 to get the Indian Ocean Islands to be seen as a new Tourism Region. Today, this spirit of togetherness is paying dividends for all the islands of the Indian Ocean, especially in the world of cruise tourism. We wish Minister Joël RANDRIAMANDRANTO continued success in his new Office as Minister.

Reflecting on Seychelles’ tourism sector’s achievements and challenges

Alain St.Ange

As we near the end of January, it is an opportune time to reflect on the Seychelles tourism sector’s achievements and challenges, and for tourism leaders in Seychelles to continue to work together to shape what lies ahead. These days, different meetings are held and each one ends up alerting the ambitions and expectations of the private sector trade, those who sit as the front line team of Seychelles Tourism. Seychelles’ Visitor Arrival numbers in 2000, are different to the arrival numbers being received today. But the financial expectations and direct benefits from today’s figures have also increased to new heights.  I took the trouble to meet many a Praslinois after their Praslin Business Association meeting. Through casual discussions at the Airport Coffee Club, to chatting to them at the Cat Cocos Inter Island Terminal, the views from Praslin as well as La Digue, sing the same tune. The moratorium on hotel construction, the vertical integration regulation, the selective approval in La Digue only for lease properties to have a hotel license, the increase in fees to National Parks among others are being strongly objected, the tampering of the foreign employment quota system that hinders quality of service and the island’s value for money tag line. The number of people employed across the tourism value chain is no small achievement on the main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue among others, and the needed returns from the tourism industry is worrying many as the new arbitrary rules and regulations spark a slowdown of the industry.

The inhabitants of Praslin and La Digue join their Mahe colleagues in the realisation that, despite the tough economic conditions of last year that was again being experienced so far in January, tourism continued to be the factor holding everything in place even though it was at a slower rate than Seychelles had forecasted, and the tourism trade were all hoping for. Official figures for 2018 showed a modest increase in international visitor arrival figures, compared to the same period in 2017 (and the impressive growth figures of previous years). France stagnated as a key tourism source market and this cannot, and should not, be taken lightly any longer.

The safety of tourists was, and continues to be, a matter that warrants attention. What happens in Seychelles, even in the daily lives of us Seychellois, translates itself on the measuring scale of ‘safety & security’ for visitors. A stabbing in Victoria, or another domestic violence attack that results in another crime being committed, all cloud the clean slate Seychelles so desperately needs to protect.

Happily, the private sector controlled tourism services are working and they keep the fly flying, but Seychelles needs to take away as a lesson learnt is that it needs to free the hands of the business community with less restrictive regulations, diminish Income Tax as a burden stifling growth, and that it must emphasise responsible tourism and general responsible use of its natural resources that are listed as key USPs.

We are seeing the urgent need of upgrades in services by the State and these include Police, Roads and Medical. The Gate Way to the Blue Economy, the Beaches and the Ports needs the love expected from the State by the Private Sector motor. Popular public beaches are the gate way to the Blue Economy and require the basic facility of public toilets. Last week, on Amities beach on Praslin, an elderly German couple were seen begging for the use of a toilet.  Seychelles must now be seen to be ‘Working for Tourism’ safety monitors and be more determined than ever to make it safe for tourists – (bearing in mind that what is good for tourists is also good for us Seychellois) – to visit our beaches, to hike, and to visit our spectacular attractions around the country. The National Airline, Air Seychelles will need the political vision to re-establish its ‘raison d’etre’. As we hear that one of the airline’s directors is resigning, we know that we need to grab this ‘bull by its horns’ to have the airline become once again, the insurance policy for Seychelles Tourism.

Tourism growth must be the desire of every patriotic Seychellois. It translates into economic growth, jobs and opportunities for many. In 2019 the collaboration between the public and private sector must be strengthened to further grow and drive the industry to reach even greater heights. It is the one industry that can readily deliver the jobs and economic growth that our country so urgently needs.

Despite the challenges we faced during 2018, the start of the new year offers us an opportunity to move forward positively and decisively. Let us make 2019 a magnificently successful year – a year in which we lay a solid foundation for even greater tourism successes in future years. We must appreciate our whole vibrant tourism community who continue – with passion – to invest in, innovate and enhance our tourism offering, provide excellent services, and deliver memorable experiences to all our international and domestic visitors. Let us listen to their suggestions and proposals.

Semuliki National Park, Uganda, scraps nature walk fees as Seychelles increases National Park Fees

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) no longer charges fees for the guided nature walk to view the Sempaya Hot Springs in Semuliki National Park.

Sam Mwandha, UWA’s Executive Director, says: “This measure will greatly improve visitors’ experience in the park since they will no longer be required to pay separately to view the hot springs,” said Mwandha.

Semuliki National Park is a lowland tropical forest in western Uganda, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals. The park is located in the Semliki Valley on the remote western side of the Rwenzori Mountains, and is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin.

Uganda’s approach is interesting and comes as Seychelles announces increases to access it Nature Parks and Reserves. The key in the piece of news is guided nature walks. How to encourage safety and security and how to enhance the experience of walks and trails in Seychelles is to encourage guided excursions. Curieuse Island has mostly local guides who make a living out of caring for visitors they transfer to the island, and this is the same for Coco Island and many other National Parks.  When the State increases its fees, local guides will drop. Is Seychelles earning more or less of the tourist dollar? and are we only removing the tourism dollar from private sector individuals and taking it instead into State Coffers through the Parks Authority?

Kenya’s Najib Balala, CS Tourism & Anita Menrdiratta of CNN TASK
meet at FITUR in Spain

Najib Balala, CS Tourism of Kenya and Anita Mendiratta of CNN TASK

Tourism Trade Fairs are taking place one after the other and some tourism ministers are out and about making their mark and pushing their country ahead of the pack. One such man on the job is Najib Balala, the CS for Tourism for Kenya who was at FITUR in Madrid to tell the world that Kenya was waiting for their visitors. The “early bird catches the worm” was how Minister Balala’s presence at FITUR was described by many who saw his tireless efforts at to re-position Kenya as a safe tourism destination after the touch of a terrorism attack just a week prior. Kenya tourism had a successful 2018 and they are wasting no time in working to keep up the momentum. Anita Mendiratta, the well-known and very influential media and tourism personality, caught up with Minister Balala and she posted:-  “Honoured to cross paths with Hon. Minister of Tourism of Kenya as he carries to FITUR in Madrid heartfelt appreciation of People of Magical Kenya for UNWTO, WTTC, US TOA, & Global Tourism community for their support in days of challenge into shared, united tourism”.

Kenya tourism is successful because it has leaders. Well done!

For Africa to Rise it has to Fly – Carmen Nibigira

Carmen Nibigira

Magical Kenya Travel Expo saw Carmen Nibigira as Moderator at their 2018 seminar on Air Access and Low Cost Carriers. Carmen was, until a couple of years ago, the Head of the East African Tourism Platform, the marketing body that brought the East African Countries together for tourism purposes.

“For Africa to rise, it has to fly” is the message Carmen Nibigira left the Magical Kenya Travel Expo. In the past, many including myself, have said that “Africa needs to know Africa, if Africa is to be strong”. But the continent is still finding itself and looking at politics before stability and economic survival. The people are too often forgotten in the equation.

A post by Magical Kenya Travel Expo said that their last seminar was interesting and that her quote will stay with them for a long time.

Congratulations Carmen!

Naomy King – “Participating is winning”

Naomy King is a local Seychellois Model and has just ended her latest participation at an International Modelling Competition. Seychelles needs to be proud of Naomy becasue she continues to fly our island’s flag and in so doing, she is spreading the word about Seychelles as a tourism destination.

“Participating is winning” A quote that is so fitting. She wins by being visible and Seychelles is winning by the visibility she provides. Naomy King was at the Miss Intercontinental pageant representing Seychelles in a custom made emerald high slit gown by Vince Sityar of Vince Sityar Collection during the Miss Intercontinental Swimsuit and Designers Gala Night at Okada Manila.

Naomy personally came forward to say thank you to her sponsors and to those who made it possible for her to walk the talk. She said:- “Thank you to all my sponsors; @perfectchoiceofficial @glorioishairsalon @rodyannsboutique @pamelacoopoosamy and to Joëlle Fabre for your continued support”. She is a talented Seychelloise and deserves the support of her country.

It is important to again acknowledge all who are diligently re-posting the Saint Ange Tourism Report weekly. Our Report ranges far and wide, from Australia to the Americas, from the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands to Africa & Asian and Greater Europe, with your continued support, which is greatly appreciated. You are helping us to grow from strength to strength with each new Edition.

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