AFRICAN TOURISM MINISTERS ALSO MEET IN MOROCCO AS COP22 LOOMS LARGE
(Posted 13th November 2016)
The Seychelles Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Alain St.Ange was in Morocco for the African Ministers meeting taking place on the sidelines of COP 22 and he restated the island government’s commitment to drive sustainable tourism in the country.
Minister St.Ange said as he addressed the panel alongside colleague Ministers that the Seychelles government has demonstrated that it has the political will to do so. Minister St.Ange was being accompanied at this important UNWTO organised meeting by Ms. Anne Lafortune, the Seychelles’ PS for Tourism, the island’s Senior Government Official accredited to UNWTO dossiers.
As he spoke at a panel of African Ministers of Tourism, who met on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Marrakech, Morocco, on Thursday, Minister Alain St.Ange said that sustainable tourism, green tourism of eco friendly tourism are today the buzz words, but that the Seychelles had been advocating such an approach even since they were a British Colony (an era that ended in 1976). The approach was then simply referred to as ‘Conservation’ and for the people of Seychelles to be seen and remembered as having been good custodians of what they had been blessed with. ‘This is the first step to put a sound footing on a consolidated tourism development‘ the Minister said.
”Seychelles knows that it has a rich diversity in culture and it its tourism offerings. This is why we have a successful tourism industry, we have what the world wants to see. We today have gone as far as declaring over 50% of our total land are to protected National Parks. These are some of our stories the world wants to hear‘ Minister St.Ange added before concluding ‘But the challenge for us is to continue to safeguard our safety label, one that to-date remains untouched. Our tourism industry players are most vulnerable if this is ever compromised and they need to continue to work with us to safeguard this key USP we have.Today we all joined together to sign the African Charter. Seychelles is proud to be part of this historical event. An African Charter for Africa by Africa. We shall now all have to live up to safeguarding our tourism industry through best practices. Sustainable Tourism practices will ensure that what we have today will still be attracting visitors to our shores for the long term. We were part of the instigators alongside Cote D’Ivoire and Morocco and we were advocates to have such a tourism ministers meeting on the sidelines of COP 22. Our tourism cannot thrive without security. As we work on continuing to improve our air access with more point to point connections from tourism source markets we need our continued stability to attract airline companies to include Seychelles on their routes. Security is a situation of the day in Seychelles even at this time of so much insecurity in the world. This security and safety keeps our economy strong and our people in employment because it keeps our tourism industry to be performing well‘.
The Seychelles islands, part of the wider Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, depend greatly on a pristine environment, on land as well as at sea and in particular former President James Alix Michel had become a standard bearer for small island nations which will become the first victims of rising sea levels should the galloping temperature rise not be contained.
President Danny Rollen Faure, who is leading the main delegation of the Seychelles to COP 22, is now following along the same path of conservation and preservation as his predecessor in office and he too is expected to speak for and on behalf of other small island nations on this and other similar occasions in the future.
Added details about the Seychelles can be found via www.seychelles.travel