SEYCHELLES HEAD TO MIAMI FOR SEA TRADE CONVENTION
Encouraged by the gradual return of cruise ships to the classic Indian Ocean circuits, which has traditionally included the Seychelles, will a delegation from Victoria head to Miami next week to participate in the Sea Trade Convention which takes place between March 12th and 15th. Glynn Burridge from the tourism board will be joined by Lenny Alvis of Masons Travel and Eric Renard of Creole Travel, the archipelagos leading destination management companies and experienced in the handling of cruise ships on port calls.
Only last week did the Seychelles bring the global spotlight to the question of cruises, when making all resources available to bring the Costa Allegra into port after the ship had suffered engine failures due to a fire which broke out on board. The Seychelles dispatched surveillance aircraft immediately the distress call was received and sent coast guard units and two tugs to rendezvous with the drifting ship off one of the archipelagos outer islands before bringing the Costa Allegra safely into port. The exemplary response by the Seychelles government, the port authority and the tourism board was last week hailed as a major achievement for a small country and stands benefit the delegation going to Miami next week through the added publicity the event generated and the ability to come to a ships rescue at a moments notice in the vast waters owned by the Seychelles.
This correspondent also had the opportunity to speak with several passengers of the ill fated cruise on the Costa Allegra who stayed on the island of Praslin at the Black Parrot Suites / Coco de Mer Resort, and while they all preferred anonymity and insisted that no pictures were taken, they did willingly, though off the record, answer questions. They all enjoyed their island holiday, courtesy of the Costa Cruises, on the Seychelles calling it a blessing in disguise after the harrowing experience when the engines of the ship cut and could not be restarted. They said that the crew were competent and helpful throughout the ordeal and that great relief swept the passengers on board when the first Seychellois surveillance aircraft overflew the Costa Allegra, and more so when the ship was then under tow towards first Desroches Island before it was found necessary to move on to Port Victoria. Said one lady with the few words of English she mastered: I will go on a cruise again. This was not something the crew was able to avoid but we followed the emergency procedures how they instructed us to do.
The lack of electricity and water was the most difficult part of it but we got enough food and water the entire time. We had hoped to get off the ship in the other island but then were told they would have to tow us to the main island and so we had to wait another two days. The Seychelles people were the nicest under the situation, they helped to get us to safety. We decided to take the two week vacation here on the Seychelles because at least we can make up for the loss of the rest of the cruise to Egypt and home to Italy. I thank everybody from Seychelles for rescuing us and making us so welcome here. The other passengers shared these sentiments and appeared to be genuinely happy with their stay, although they had to leave the Black Parrot Suites / Coco de Mer Resort as previously booked tourists were arriving leaving the hotel full to the brim and without a single room to spare. The Costa Allegra passengers who decided to remain on the island at the expense of Costa Cruises will be flying home at the end of their holiday on scheduled flights while those who opted to return home immediately missed out on the Carnival International de Victoria last Sunday and having a holiday of a lifetime on the Seychelles. Watch this space.
Archive for March 8th, 2012
SEYCHELLES HEAD TO MIAMI FOR SEA TRADE CONVENTION
LA REUNION CAPITALISES ON VANILLA ISLAND CARNIVAL FESTIVAL EXPOSURE
The Tourism Board of La Reunion, represented in full force at the ITB in Berlin with a number of private sector stakeholders, is making the most of the recent exposure gained from being co-host of the Carnival International de Victoria on the Seychelles, where the island participated in a major way and brought the largest foreign delegation.
Already united under the Vanilla Island concept, La Reunion threw their weight behind the Seychelles Tourism Boards initiative and subsequently received significant coverage from the almost 80 media representatives who had come to Victoria to cover the event.
La Reunion has unique features such as dormant volcanoes, unlike the Seychelles, and can offer different attractions to tourist visitors such as treks up the mountains to the rim of the craters, which are very popular.
Asked how the cooperation would work a staff from the Seychelles Tourism Board preferring anonymity said: Right now tourists visiting both islands can fly with Air Seychelles to Mauritius and then with Air Austral to La Reunion, but we are hoping for direct flights between the two islands to make it easier to offer packages. In this regard it is hoped that Air Seychelles and Air Austral will be able to put a joint flight option on the market in due course, when in particular Air Seychelles is getting, what is widely expected to happen before the middle of the year, an A 320 to operate their regional flights to Mauritius and Johannesburg and the new mainland and Indian Ocean island destinations they are presently evaluating.
Visit www.reunion.fr for more information on the tourism attractions of the island and available hotels, resorts and activities for tourist visitors.
NEW WILDLIFE LAWS PERMIT COMPENSATION AT LAST
Sources at the Rwanda Development Board Tourism and Conservation, have confirmed that they can now start to process claims for loss of property, damages and injuries by people living near national parks, should they suffer from marauding wildlife. The Rwandan government has last week set up a special trust fund which will be used by RDB to deal with legitimate and verified claims, of which several hundred are said to be pending already awaiting decisions as to the level of compensation now due to affected individuals and communities.
17 such cases are from the Parc de Volcanoes which is partly secured by a metre high perimeter wall separating the park from the neighbouring farms, twice as many 34 in total from the Nyungwe Forest National Park neighbourhood but a staggering 306 from Akagera National Park, although a future reduction is anticipated there when the electric fence is fully installed.
Said Rica Rwigamba, Head of the Tourism and Conservation Department at RDB: This was really a worrying issue for us. In Rwanda we look at conservation in a holistic approach, hence we put coexistence between communities and wildlife at the core of our activities. We are confident that this [latest development of creating the fund] will further enhance the fruitful cooperation that we have built over the years with communities around the protected areas.
Existing laws and regulations also require that 5 percent of the gate revenues are to be channeled back into the communities and every year, when the naming ceremony of the gorillas is taking place this year Kwita Izina will be celebrated on the 16th of June are new projects inaugurated by RDB Tourism and Conservation, bringing water to communities and supporting health, education and community centres benefitting all instead of a few.
Rwanda once again taking the lead in the wider region where human wildlife conflict is on the increase and where only sensible common sense solutions can mitigate the effects of protecting wildlife vis a vis protecting human populations.