After the announcement of his resignation, we met with Alain St Ange, now the former minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine of Seychelles.
During his mandate the tourism sector was booming. If the Seychellois are sad with this news, it could be a great opportunity for the UNWTO.
Mr St Ange, why did you resigned?
It was with a lot of emotion that I tendered my resignation to President Danny Faure last Tuesday morning. My name had been mentioned since over a year as a possible candidate to the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) and the time to lodge my documents as a Candidate has now arrived. This is why I preferred to resign from my Ministerial position and move to campaign for the coming elections. As a sitting Minister in the Government of Seychelles I would be neglecting my duties and responsibilities as and when I was traveling to meet Member States to seek their support and at the same time head the Ministry that is the pillar of the Seychelles economy. I could not be using funds for the Ministry for to campaign for my election as I could not be in full employment as a sitting Minister and be traveling to Member States for this coming election.
It would be a great honour to be elected to the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO and for this I have to work hard for the coming months.
Why do you think you are the best candidate for the position of UNWTO General Secretary?
The vacancy that Taleb Rifai, the existing Secretary General of the UNWTO is one that comes with a lot of responsibility for the world of tourism. His shoes will be hard to fill as he was a person who worked hard to bring Member States together. He was a unifier, a hard worker and leader who has earned the respect of everyone. As his successor I will need to be able to continue in his footsteps and to build on his achievements and successes. This is not easy, but I feel that I have the ability and charisma to do that for the Community of Nations. I come from Seychelles, a country that knows tourism, that understands tourism and that depends on tourism for its economy. As a country Seychelles remains friends of all and enemies of none which is an essential criteria for working with countries of the world and rally countries who are not part of the tourism family to become part of the UNWTO. As a Seychellois we are known to be the melting pot of culture, and this enables me to sit with everyone and work with everyone. My profession has been tourism and hospitality and it remains an industry that I know well and feel comfortable in it.
Seychelles has enjoyed a very successful tourism industry. As a Minister I worked with passion and promoted an inclusive approach to rally all actors to be united for the industry. This passion and ability to rally everyone will be crucial for a good and successful SG. As a Seychellois we are trilingual with Creole, English and French as our languages. I feel blessed to be fully bilingual speaking and writing both in english and in french.This is a bridge for the English speaking world and those from the French speaking block. An address in both languages and chairing meetings in both languages is an asset for such a position. Over and above I studied in Germany and still manage to also speak german.