NEW TOURISM LEGISLATION SEES STA OVERSIGHT SHIFT FROM TOURISM BOARD TO MINISTRY
(Posted 10th August 2016)
Members of the Seychelles National Assembly yesterday approved two bills on tourism and also on culture. Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture accompanied by Anne Lafortune, the PS for Tourism and Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture was in the National Assembly to propose the creation of the long awaited CINEA, the Creative Industries and National Events Agency Bill 2016 and the Seychelles Tourism Board (Amendment) Bill 2016.
When he presented CINEA, the Creative Industries and National Events Agency Bill 2016 the Minister said that this Bill had taken a long time to get to the National Assembly because of the level of consultation that has taken place and because the views and recommendations of the private sector needed to be heard and points made embodied as much as possible into the Bill thus making the new body called CINEA smaller than was initially envisaged. ‘This presentation today comes at an appropriate time. Our Tourism Board has already moved to stop stop promoting Seychelles only as a sun, sea and sand holiday destination. Today it is our culture that they are showcasing to the world of tourism. Our country knows that without culture we do not have a tourism industry, because yes, culture is our music, our dance, our paintings, our handicrafts, our food, but more importantly our culture is our people, us the Creole People of Seychelles. Even the United Nations WTO has held a conference on the theme of tourism through culture and protect culture through tourism‘ Minister Alain St.Ange said.
The Minister went on to address the what is seen as an ‘emancipation‘ of the Arts in Seychelles citing the launch of the Patrick Victor Cultural Foundation as one such step by the private sector just as the creation of CINEA is being formalized. He also spoke about the construction that is taking place in the heart of Victoria of a new Music Stadium that will also help to raise the level of music and shows in the Seychelles. He explained that the CINEA project follows the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity and Expressions (2005) which emphasized on the importance of products and cultural services as a means to transmit the culture and identity of a people and of a nation. The UNESCO also said that through culture small creative business enterprises could flourish and in so doing contribute to the national economy. The Minister then added: ‘The new CINEA will help in the development of all aspects for the Cultural Industry. This Bill today is the most comprehensive project undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to accelerate the development of small creative businesses for artists in every artistic discipline‘.
After a lengthy debate on the Bill where Hon Members Bresson, Arnephy, Fideria, Samson, Esther, Souris, Pillay and De Commarmond addressed the house in support of the Bill and after Hon Charles De Commarmond, as the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly proposed two amendments to make the list of National Events more comprehensive and to also introduce the position for a Deputy CEO for CINEA the Bill received a unanimous support of the House that was being Chaired by the Deputy Speaker, the Hon Andre Pool.
The Second Bill presented by Minister St.Ange was the Seychelles Tourism Board (Amendment) Bill 2016 which was one that tided up the role and responsibilities of the Tourism Board now that a Tourism Department headed by a Principal Secretary had been created. The Minister explained that the responsibility for the Seychelles Tourism Academy was now that of the Department of Tourism and no longer that of the Tourism Board. ‘The Seychelles Tourism Industry has seen a number of adjustments during the last years. These were adjustments for the country, our country that depends on tourism as its primary industry, the industry that was today the pillar of our economy. The changes was for us to adapt and in so doing remain focused with the time to ensure we are able to continue to deliver for our country and for our people‘.
Minister St.Ange said this before adding that Government needed to speak the language of the industry and to have a seat on the table in the middle of the industry in order to actively lead the debate and lead in the drive to continue to make the industry work.
The Department of Tourism was today responsible for everything that was regulation, standard and the supervision of the industry as well as the responsibility for International Cooperation whereas the Seychelles Tourism Board now had only one major responsibility and that is to market Seychelles.
Hon Vangadasamy and Hon Charles De Commarmond spoke on the Bill that was then approved unanimously.
Meanwhile are the final preparations for the ‘Feast of Assumption‘ on the island of La Digue in full swing with the festival activities starting this Friday. The main day of the event will this year be Monday the 15th of August, which is a public holiday in the Seychelles.
Thousands of extra visitors are expected on La Digue from the main island of Mahe, where Air Seychelles has laid on a series of additional flights from the international airport to the aerodrome on the second largest island of Praslin.
The ferry operation Cat Cocos is also expected to offer extra services from Mahe to Praslin to cater for the extra travelers and from Praslin visitors to the festival then take another ferry for the final 15 minutes ride across to La Digue.
Added information is available via www.seychelles.travel