KEEP SEYCHELLES SAFE SAYS TOURISM MINISTER, WE DEPEND ON TOURISTS
As the murder trial on Mauritius is now underway, where two suspects are standing trial over allegations of having killed British tourist Michaela McAreavey in her hotel room, the Seychelles tourism establishment left no opportunity pass last week and this week to publicly promote the concept of further improving safety and security for the visitors to the archipelago by calling upon the public to appreciate the value tourist bring to the country in terms of foreign exchange, investments, job creation through the sector and via secondary and tertiary employment and the goodwill satisfied tourists take back home with them.
This campaign for public awareness and the need to keep our visitors safe and out of trouble is not linked to what is going on right now in Mauritius. Yes, of course it has been in the news that the trial is now underway but we have always promoted amongst our people to be friendly to visitors and look after them if they get lost somewhere. We know that internal peace in Seychelles is crucial for our success, and government is having many initiatives underway to help young people to build a career. STA is offering more study places than before and when the new academy is ready we think we can meet manpower demand through graduates. There are start up business schemes available to build a business, from guest houses to fishing trips, guided tours to the Morne National Park and so much more. We are looking at arrivals now by end May and if the projections are right we will again up our numbers compared to a year ago. For 2012 Seychelles hopes to attract around 200.000 visitors, and in comparison to others small here is beautiful We are not and never will or can be a mass destination because sustainability is at the centre of what we do here. Occupancies will rise when we reach this number and every year we hope to add little by little until we have reached a number were sustainability meets demand. To achieve that we must not forget that our visitors must be safe and secure when here with us and that is the reason why the topic was raised, not because of what goes on somewhere else. We do not exploit others woes but follow our own strategies said a regular senior source on the islands when asked if the timing of the tourist safety and security campaign was purely coincidental or deliberate.
Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange in turn had this to say in a public statement availed to this correspondent: This is one of our important unique selling points. The world at large knows we are a peace loving people. The world at large knows we remain not only safe, but very safe. This asset we must all defend and we must all stand together to safeguard. He then went on to explain government policy vis a vis tourism and employment opportunities: Our President wanted to extend a hand to our people at large to enter the world of tourism. He said this as he launched the Seychelles Brand of Tourism. This brand of tourism for Seychelles by Seychelles is to ensure that the industry that remains the pillar of our economy is consolidated for the long term. The tourism business in Seychelles must not become only for big businesses, every Seychellois who so desires must see themselves in the industry not just as employees, but also as players, as business men and women. Everyone involved, everyone so implicated will defend his or her industry before ending with an example of how tourists are safe in Victoria even at night: Last year and again this year at the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Carnival, known as the Carnival International de Victoria which is jointly staged by Seychelles and La Reunion we saw several people including visitors sleeping in Victoria after the street party and they did so without fear because of the safety label we continue to enjoy. This we must never lose as the peace loving mid ocean islands of Seychelles. Minister St. Ange would not be drawn however into discussing the recent announcement by one Karl Mootoosamy, Head of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, that they would stage a rival carnival festival within weeks of the announcement being made last weekend, baffling the tourism sector both at home in Mauritius and abroad, where it is largely felt that MTPA had ran out of ideas and was grasping at straws in a desperate Copy and Paste attempt to upstage the Seychelles. Understandably would the Minister St. Ange not wish to add fuel to the fire raging in the public domain and on social networks over MTPAs move but going by feedback from Mauritius itself it seems a hugely controversial decision, and being made as the murder trial is underway it was also felt that it was a timed smokescreen to divert international attention away from the trial, unsuccessfully as it appears. Watch this space to get regular updates from Seychelles Another World.
Archive for May 29th, 2012
KEEP SEYCHELLES SAFE SAYS TOURISM MINISTER, WE DEPEND ON TOURISTS
FRESH CHURCH BURNING ON ZANZIBAR AS RIOTERS CHARGED IN COURT
At least thirty rioters were charged yesterday in courts of law in Zanzibar, following their arrest over the weekend, when mobs incited by sectarian talk stormed two Christian churches and burned them down. More are expected to appear in court today and though several were granted bail, investigations continue into the promoters of the uncharacteristic violence perpetrated against other religions. However, on other parts of the islands sporadic riots erupted yesterday again with much of the police and security force securing the court buildings and surrounds, and notably was another church burned down near Mpendae, before security forces were deployed to arrest and disburse the mobs. Levelheaded leaders from the mainland but also from Zanzibar have condemned the sectarian violence, saying it is not what Tanzania stands for and attributing it solely to the radical group known as Uamsho, which has been preaching separation from the mainland and the establishment of an own state of Zanzibar, ostensibly then ruled by them to establish a radical regime.
Across the East African Community was the outbreak of violence condemned and while in Kenyas capital the even more radical Al Shabaab terror group appears to have detonated a bomb in a shop along Moi Avenue, the mood everywhere is determined to root out extremism of any form and have the peaceful coexistence of religions in Tanzania and elsewhere in Eastern Africa reaffirmed.
Zanzibar was long suffering from political divisions but the present government of unity which has brought the long time opposition on board, had taken much of the previous sting out of day to day politics and given hope that radicals could be contained.
Tanzanias Home Affairs Minister Emmanuel Nchimbi, now on Zanzibar to resolve the issue through talks, has been clear when he said that no violence would be tolerated hence in order to protect ordinary people and their possessions and more important prevent an economic meltdown should tourism cut and run, leaving Zanzibars much fancied resorts empty, as has been painted as a worst case scenario by sections of stakeholders yesterday when in touch with this correspondent. Everyone has a great role in maintaining peace and stability. We need peace for ourselves and for visitors including tourists who contribute to the economy he said before adding Let us work together and avoid mixing Islam with criminality. I believe Islam does not allow to attack bars, restaurants and non believers. Let us hunt for the criminals.
The response from senior private sector tourism sources was muted though as they are continuing to monitor the situation, with added concerns now that the violence has spread to other parts of the island yesterday, making excursions by tourists to the islands attractions somewhat more difficult in terms of security. It is understood that resort owners and managers are in frequent contact amongst themselves and with security organs and are advising tourists to either stay within their resorts or else exercise utmost caution when venturing out.
The Executive Director of the Zanzibar Tourism Commission also echoed the concerns and advice to the people of Zanzibar when he called on them to help bring the criminals to book and work hand in hand to keep tourism a thriving business from which the island would benefit.