By Alain St.Ange of SAINT ANGE CONSULTANCY
In this issue:- 1. Seychelles featured from space. 2. Airbnb – ‘Duty of Care’ questioned in a Seychelles booking, 3. VOYAGES AFRIQ Magazine set to have a dedicated page as contribution from “Saint Ange Tourism Report”. 4. Seychelles Beauty to represent Islands at Miss Tourism World. 5. AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort & SPA welcomes Traditional Wedding. 6. Ridge Residence – a local gem at La Louise. 7. Seychelles Tourism threatened by heroin epidemic. 8. Liberté Métisse Festival of Reunion Island. 9. 2018 African Tourism Ministers conference in Nigeria. 10. Art in Seychelles,Then and Now. 11. Seychelles Partners with SUNx to Build Regional Climate Resilience Centre. 12. Good Bye from Taleb Rifai Secretary General UNWTO.
Welcome to Edition 30 of 31st December 2017.
New Year’s Special Edition 2017
Tomorrow is the start of a new year. As we say goodbye to 2017 and welcome in 2018, it is important to reflect upon what we have experienced during the past twelve months to better appreciate what is in store for us in 2018.
I start by considering the article titled ‘That Time of the Year’ by John Couris, the President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital in Florida, wherein he stated, “With 2017 coming to a close and 2018 just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to talk about setting professional leadership goals. As with anything, having a road map to guide you makes your route clearer. So, think about goal setting as a way to map out – in broad strokes – your path for the year ahead”.
Seychelles and the Seychellois People as a whole are testing new waters and swimming against currents never experienced before. Seychellois need a road map to guide everyone and to illuminate the path ahead.
As we celebrate the arrival of the new year, most will undoubtedly be making their resolutions for 2018; a worthy resolution would be for Seychellois to remain united as one. We owe this to Seychelles. Let us undertake to treat others with utmost respect, and to entertain differing religious beliefs or political ideals with tolerance. This is the way to make our island home safer, more sustainable, and more prosperous for future generations to come.
It is inevitable that some will always try to destroy the fabrics of good society because in chaos they hope to find personal benefits. The quote for this week is by Steven Aitchison –
“Positive thinkers have a solution for every problem, Negative thinkers have a problem for every solution. Stay Positive !”
A year ago, on the 27th December 2016, I resigned from my position as Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of the Seychelles, following a meeting with President Danny Faure at State House. This was done on the mutual understanding that I would become the Seychelles candidate for the post of Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The abrupt withdrawal of my candidature by the Government, but a couple of days before the elections in Madrid, lost Seychelles, a country overly dependant on its tourism industry, the invaluable chance to lead this prestigious United Nations Body. The decision also condemned Africa to lose its first chance of sitting in the highest tourism office of the world. What a loss for Seychelles and for Africa this was.
2017 has ended with many alarming announcements of decisions and actions taken in the name of the people of Seychelles. The cost of electricity is going up immediately, and a further revision is expected to again hike the price in March for both the public and the commercial sector. The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) is also increasing its fares over and above the many other increases that were announced in the Budget 2018 presentation that was duly approved by the National Assembly of the People.
More alarming still is the announcement by Etihad Airlines that the 40% shares they own in Air Seychelles have now been transferred to an Etihad Holding Company. At face value, it seems that it is but an innocent company share transfer, but in reality, when all the dust has settled, we will realise that Air Seychelles was previously part of a major Airline, but now it is just a mere investment by its holding company.
This announcement came just after an alleged lone call in the Seychelles National Assembly for Etihad Airlines to pack its bag and get out. A further announcement swiftly followed regarding the looming redundancy of staff at Air Seychelles. Many Seychellois families will suffer when the redundancies start in earnest, and its impact on tourism will be felt for years to come.
Many have been commenting on the Seychelles Airline’s recent announcement that they will be taking to the skies in 2018. It is recalled that prominent politicians are involved in this private venture. In our economic climate, would it not be wiser to merge efforts and resources to establish a single airline for the country where those with means are invited to participate in the consolidation of the country’s airline?
The image of the country in the global arena is more vulnerable than ever. Domestic issues continue to impact the idyllic dream paradise we all say we offer. We have received a report of a young unsuspecting German tourist who booked an available bedroom in somebody’s private home, and soon felt compelled to call a tourism establishment owner to come pick her up because she was frightened for her security. I consider her case in more depth in a separate article below.
On a more positive note, Cosmoledo Atoll of Seychelles has been featured by NASA in their top 17 photos for the 2017. This is an amazing feat for Seychelles, and one that shows that the beauty of this island Nation is well worth protecting; Its flora and fauna, its wide ocean, which is now the centre of the Blue Economy, its culture, and its entire population of only 93000 living and working in the country.
Seychelles during the second half of the month of December joined the grouping of the Vanilla Islands to celebrate the Liberté Métisse Festival of Reunion Island. The world of events continue to be used around the globe as a vector to consolidate culture and, in so doing, to also promote tourism as an industry. All the islands of the Indian Ocean have used their Vanilla Islands Organisation to push their cultural events in order to attract press and increase the visibility of the destination.
“Seychelles, Remembers Karl St.Ange”
is the book issued by the family after his passing
The 31st December is a special day for the St.Ange family, and for all those who knew and loved Karl St. Ange. It is his birthday (31st December 1919), and even if he left us on 7th May 2009, as a family we continue to honour his memory and say thank you to all his sincere friends who stood by him to the end, and who still speak highly of the man who managed to ‘humanise’ politics, as Sir James Mancham said in his write up on Karl after he passed away. Happy Birthday Dad.
It is important to again today acknowledge all who are diligently re-posting the Saint Ange Tourism Report weekly. Our Report ranges far and wide, from Australia to the Americas, from the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands to Africa & Asian and Greater Europe, with your continued support, which is greatly appreciated. You are helping us to grow from strength to strength with each new Edition.
Enjoy the read,
Alaint Ange Consultancy
Seychelles featured from space
Every year, thousands of photographs are snapped by the women and men who live and work on the International Space Station. This year, the Cosmoledo Atoll of Seychelles was lucky enough to be chosen by NASA to be in their top 17 photos for the year 2017.
Airbnb – ‘Duty of Care’questioned in a Seychelles booking
Carolin Helbig from Germany arrived in Seychelles for her first long-haul holiday. She reported that she booked her 16-day holiday in Seychelles with Booking.Com. Carolin Helbig’s Booking.Com successful reservations allowed her to discover the islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
Because her holiday was perfect, she decided to extend her stay in paradise by a further 7 nights. She alleged that Booking.Com could not find an appropriate hotel for her because Seychelles was in its peak period and enjoying very high occupancy level.
This is when disaster struck for Carolin Helbig with her Seychelles holiday.
She reported that she then turned to Airbnb, which was able to book her accommodation in the district of Port Glaud for seven nights. She paid the asking rate and the booking was dutifully confirmed. On the 21st December, a representative from the Airbnb booked hotel turned up at Julie’s Holiday Home at Au Cap to pick up Carolin and transfer her to her new accommodation on the Port Glaud / Sans Soucis Road.
The vehicle providing the transfer was apparently not a licensed Taxi, instead belonging to a nephew of the family owning the Airbnb booked accommodation. The German traveller reported that the vehicle was in a bad state and that the engine ‘choked’ often during their drive to the dwelling.
After leaving the main Port Glaud / Sans Soucis Road, the driver apparently took a winding, small road in a dark and what felt like an unsafe surrounding for Carolin.
On arrival at the destination, Carolin was guided to a small side annex to the main house, where she was to share the place with the mother of the establishment’s owner, as well as two young children, one of whom appeared to be in ill health. Carolin was expected to share the bathroom and toilet facilities with the other occupants. However, she reported that the bathroom was in a dire condition, consisting of a mere shower pipe attached to an unplastered wall. She complained that the water pressure was so poor that the water trickled down as she attempted to wash her hands. Her sleeping quarters were humble, at best.
As darkness fell, she realised that her mobile phone was not receiving proper coverage. She was offered to share a meal (mourunga leaves and fried fish) with the lady of the house and the two young girls.
Carolin felt unsafe and walked outside in darkness until she managed to get a mobile phone signal. She dialled Barry and Julie Laporte at Julie’s Holiday Home. Speaking in a low voice so as not to be heard, Carolin said to Julie Laporte:- “Come and get me, I am scared”. That was barely two hours after she has checked out of the Au Cap Tourism Establishment.
Carolin allegedly told the Airbnb booked hotel representative that she would walk to the main road, but was discouraged to do so because of the dogs in the area.
Barry and Julie Laporte drove from Au Cap to Port Glaud and, after a lot of difficulty, saw Carolin with her suitcase holding her phone trying to attract attention in total darkness.
Carolin has tried to claim back from Airbnb for the amount paid for the seven days at the Port Glaud Hotel but she reports that she has thus far been unsuccessful in her endeavour.
VOYAGES AFRIQ Magazine to dedicate page as contribution from “Saint Ange Tourism Report”
Voyages Afriq Magazine has found its place as a Tourism Publication showcasing Africa and what the continent says is “Brand Africa”.
Voyages Afriq Magazine was launched at the last World Travel Market (WTM) Tourism Trade Fair in London and received glowing reports from Tourism Ministers and the Travel & Tourism Trade.
The full colour 49-page tourism publication is Ghana based with the known and highly respected Kojo Bentum-Williams as its Managing Director, Ben Ohene-Ayeh as Consultant Editor and Samuel Obeng Appah as Content Editor. It is now available right across Africa, Europe, part of Asia and Australasia and the Americas, and advertisers are commenting on the reach they have been getting.
The launch edition reviewed the United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and its new Secretary General. It also carried a foreword by Elcia Grandcourt, the Director Regional Programme for Africa at the UNWTO, and a long list of reviews and interviews about Africa and tourism Africa.
Alain St.Ange, the former Seychelles Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine and the Islands’ candidate in the 2017 elections for the post of Secretary General at the UNWTO, was invited to share his journey through tourism in that launch edition.
African countries, the continent’s tourism industry and Tourism Ministers from the African Continent are well covered and featured in the Voyages Afriq Magazine.
Issue #2 of Voyages Afriq is due out after the first quarter of 2018 and will have a dedicated page as contribution from Alain St.Ange of the Saint Ange Tourism Report. This was confirmed by the magazine’s Managing Director, Kojo Bentum-Williams, when he and Mr. St.Ange met earlier this year.
“I am happy to see that contents from my report will have a further outlet. Today most of the most popular and well read online Newswires are reposting the weekly Saint Ange Tourism Report and this dedicated page in Voyages Afriq will further help get visibility and ensure our relevance. Kojo Bentum-Williams, the MD of the magazine, knows me well and has followed my work as a Tourism Minister and also my bid to become Africa’s first Secretary General at the UNWTO. I am honoured to have been offered a page in Voyages Afriq,” said Alain St.Ange.
Seychelles Beauty to represent islands at Miss Tourism World
Joelle Fabre of Coral Models Seychelles is again on the move and has confirmed that Michelle Mondon will be representing the Seychelles at the Miss Tourism World taking place early in January in Melaka, Malaysia.
Miss Tourism 2017 / 2018 World Finale is the event that Michelle Mondon will be participating in. The Malaysia Tourism World Organisation has confirmed that the dates for the Finale are as follows: 8th, 9th & 10th of January 2018 are for the arrival of all contestants and the Final Night is set for the 27th January.
Believing in our people and in our culture is so important and at the Saint Ange Tourism Report we say Congratulations to Joelle Fabre and Coral Models Seychelles for their dedication to the cause of opening doors for young Seychellois and, in so doing, flying the Seychelles Flag in the global arena.
AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort & SPA welcomes Traditional Wedding
‘Maryaz Tifin’, a joyous reenactment of a traditional Seychelles Creole wedding, was recently held at AVANI Seychelles Barbarons Resort & Spa in collaboration with the local districts of Grand Anse Mahe and Roche Caiman.
The Resort was proud to welcome the local community and in-house guests alike to take part in the special occasion. This was a moment for one and all to experience a taste of Creole traditions, including well-loved island cuisine, and traditional wedding waltzes. With a procession from the Grand Anse church to the Resort, the bride and groom were led by song to their awaiting reception on Barbarons Beach.
The Resort Management is proud to support local cultural activities, especially those that give a chance to its guests to get to know the islands and interact with the community. More events will surely be on the calendar for the coming year.
Ridge Residence – a local gem at La Louise
It was in 1979 that France and Rose Marie Adrienne opened their small 5-room guest house at La Louise, which they called the “La Louise Lodge”. They made a success of it and both Mr and Mrs Adrienne were active members of the Small Hotels & Guest House Association of that era, which was later to become part of the Seychelles Hotel & Tourism Association (SHTA) we know today.
France and Rose Marie Adrienne have, as a key unique selling point, one of the most spectacular views on Mahe. Moreover, their small Creole themed restaurant has been continuously well-received by guests, which has earned them a reputation and brought them faithful repeat clientele business over the years.
Following their retirement a couple of years ago, Mr and Mrs Adrienne passed the management of the establishment to their son, Franco, and his wife, Jane, who are continuing in the footsteps of their predecessors.
Ridge Residence has 12 Rooms, a great restaurant, an impressive swimming pool and a wooden entertainment deck, all with the spectacular view of the islands of the Marine Park. It has been enjoying a very high occupancy level and are planning the Official Opening Ceremony of the new property during the month of January 2018.
The Saint Ange Tourism Report visited the new Ridge Residence during the course of the week and congratulated Franco and Jane Adrienne for their establishment. It is a great addition to the Seychelles Accommodation Network, with a new restaurant for visitors to Seychelles and for Seychellois looking for a night out.
Seychelles tourism threatened by heroin epidemic
For a small island State such as the Seychelles, where tourism is the pillar of its economy any challenge becomes a tourism industry problem, heroin abuse may pose a threat to its tourism industry. It is with this in mind that the Saint Ange Tourism Report requested a meeting with Dr. Patrick Herminie, the Special Secretariat looking at drug addiction in Seychelles, to help the local tourism industry to better appreciate the situation on hand and to ascertain what is being done.
Dr. Patrick Herminie admitted that despite the many great strides being taken in the tourism sector, heroin addiction is a new threat that has emerged, which may well dent tourism development in Seychelles. Today, the country is faced with an unprecedented epidemic of heroin abuse. It is estimated that 4 to 5 thousand youths are addicted to the drug. This is probably one of the highest use of heroin per capita in the world given our small population of 90 thousand.
Faced with this stark reality, the Government has entrusted Dr. Patrick Herminie with the daunting task of masterminding and coordinating a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral program with a view to effectively contain the epidemic. Drug addiction is now considered to be a chronic disease, which must be effectively treated.
Dr. Herminie is adamant that unless more is invested in treatment and rehabilitation, the war on drugs will miserably fail and Seychelles will become a “dope fiend’s paradise”. Although our national drug strategy has always been comprised of supply reduction and demand reduction, for the first time this year, a significant portion of funds allotted to drug control (SRC50 million) was dedicated to treatment and rehabilitation.
Faced with stiff resistance from Parliament, the Dr, Herminie articulated his case and managed to convince all members to invest in new resources, both human and physical, including a brand new and modern rehabilitation centre at Cap Ternay, with the aim of reducing the reliance on heroin.
Tourists and locals alike are frequently robbed by drug addicts looking for their next “fix”, or by young individuals looking to make a quick buck instead of making an honest living. Following the inception of an Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation in August 2017, Dr. Herminie feels that crime rates will continue to decline as the demand for heroin is lessened. This is promising news for Seychelles and for its fragile tourism industry.
Liberté Métisse Festival of Reunion Island
The island of Reunion is a land of a thousand faces, a miscegenation that is explained by its four centuries of history and the arrival of peoples from around the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, India, Madagascar). A true cultural and ethnic melting pot that gives the island of Reunion its status as a unique destination where living together is exemplary; an intense island where traditions and religions cohabit harmoniously, an island where difference is a source of wealth.
The Liberté Métisse Festival refers to a great memorial moment: the abolition of slavery, rooted in the history of Reunion.
Initiated by the Reunion Region in 2010, the Liberté Métisse Festival is a federative, convivial and unmissable cultural event. The public will be able to discover exhibitions, conferences, meetings and exchanges on freedom and miscegenation .
This year, the 8th edition of the Liberté Métisse Festival took place from December 15th to 17th 2017 on the beach of Etang-Salé-les-Bains, with as highlight Mozambique. The 2017 theme for the festival was: “the mask in all its states” . The Mozambican culture and that of the Vanilla Islands was represented through exhibitions, shows and concerts.
Artistic program at the “Kréol village” saw performers from the island of Reunion, Mozambique and the islands of the Indian Ocean ( Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte).
The Seychelles Tourism Board joined the Island’s cultural delegation at Festival Liberté Métisse in Reunion which is listed as a Vanilla Island event.
The Seychelles’ Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture, Mitcy Larue, led the cultural delegation to the event. The Principal Secretary for Culture, Cecile Kalebi, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries and National Events Agency (CINEA) Galen Bresson, the International Cooperation officer at the culture ministry, Najoie Philoe, officials from the National Heritage Research and Protection section as well as members of the ‘Mozaik’ group comprising of Seychellois artists, were also part of the delegation.
As Festival Liberté Métisse is also an ideal platform to showcase the fusion of tourism and culture as a vector for economic development, a village dubbed ‘Espace îles vanilles’ was set up allowing each regional islands including Seychelles, to showcase their cultural and tourism heritage.
Minister Mitcy Larue joined the President of the Regional Council of Reunion to officially open the village, where each of the participating countries had their own stands. Mozambique, invited as the guest country for this year’s Festival Liberté Métisse, also had its own stand.
The Seychelles Tourism Board’s Senior Marketing Executive in Reunion, Bernadette Honore, joined the stand where she presented a selection of delicacies from the island including breadfruit and cassava chips, flat cassava bread (galet) and papaya jam.
Officials from the Seychelles National Heritage Research and Protection section also provided explanations on traditional medicines of the island showcased through an exhibition mounted at the stand. Musical animation at the stand was performed by the ‘Mozaik’ group, which also performed for the general public on the Saturday.
Minister Mitcy Larue said, “We must never forget about our culture in order to move forward together. We should invest in love, passion, and unity for a better world — learning from one another.”
Following her participation in Festival Liberté Métisse, the Seychelles Tourism Board Director for Europe, Bernadette Willemin, attended the Vanilla Islands meeting again representing Mrs Francis at a meeting for directors of tourism offices of the Vanilla Islands’ member countries.
The meeting was led by the Chief Executive of the Vanilla Islands Organisation, Pascal Viroleau.
2018 African Tourism Ministers conference in Nigeria
Nigeria will host the Conference of UNWTO Commission for Africa in 2018.
This important meeting for African Tourism Ministers is seen by many as the opportunity for Africa to rally as one to rewrite its the ‘Brand Africa’ narrative. Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture of Nigeria, is well placed as the host to work with Minister Najib Balala, the Minister of Tourism of Kenya and current Head of CAF at the UNWTO, to set the ball rolling for Africa to start claiming a bigger share of tourism travel.
Many new approaches are already being pushed, such as “Cruise Africa” through PMAESA for the developing of Cruise Ship Tourism for Africa. It is the time for Africa to re-look at CAF and have a formal Association uniting the 54 States of Africa to look at its tourism and the cooperation between the States in tourism related avenues inclusive of trade, training, joint marketing and planned visibility.
Nigeria in offering to Africa an opportunity that should now not be missed.
The Saint Ange Tourism Report takes the opportunity to again wish Nigeria and the African Tourism Ministers success for this important meeting.
Art in Seychelles, Then and Now
“Art in Seychelles, Then and Now” was launched on December 20th 2017 at the Eden Art Space Gallery, Eden Plaza, Victoria.
‘Art in Seychelles, Then and Now’ provides a unique overview of both contemporary art in Seychelles as well as exploring aspects of the history and development of visual art. It is an ideal companion for anyone with an interest in the art of Seychelles, whether visiting, studying or simply residing in Seychelles. It is a 256 page full colour assessment of contemporary art in Seychelles, supported by sections on the history and development of the visual arts which covers the period 1830 – 2000.
The book features the work and words of 46 contemporary artists creating art in vastly different ways from a range of starting points. The beauty of the natural environment features prominently in terms of inspiration but the range of responses means that what might be termed the landscape genre avoids sameness and predictability.
Seychellois artists force us to rethink our approach to art informed by the simple act of being in a tropical forest or walking through groves of pitcher plants. Archival art – work which records and celebrates old style domesticity – is an important niche area throughout the book. There is art which deals with the fast-vanishing lifestyle of the (quite recent) past : metal huts raised on bricks, washing clothes in the river, and sweeping – both inside and outside domiciles. Much figurative art which portrays this is sentimental, exuding a romantic nostalgia, something to cling onto and preserve albeit only as a memory against the demanding pressure of modern life.
Essentially, such a publication serves as a snapshot of the aesthetic landscape. Like technology, it is out of date on the day it is published, with featured work transcended by new material. However, as a map of the terrain during the period 2014 and 2017, when the principal interviews and principal photography took place, it attempts to be inclusive and representational of the artistic priorities of the nation’s protagonists.
The book features colour reproductions of the work of all 46 contemporary artists, plus a smaller representation of the work of those who have died, left or simply ceased producing art. It contains contact details for all artists featured in the contemporary section and is sold with a choice of three different full colour dust jackets by three artists.
Seychelles Partners with SUNx to Build Regional Climate Resilience Centre
Speaking in Victoria, Seychelles, at the Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine announced a partnership with SUNx to build a climate resilience centre for the Seychelles and Vanilla Islands.
He also made provision for Maurice Strong Legacy Scholarships, formally launched at this year’s World Travel Market in London and of special interest to the Seychelles because they provide access to a high-profile scholarship for outstanding Seychellois students to further their education in Sustainable Tourism. The long-term aim is to empower tens of thousands of likeminded, connected, committed, graduate trainees and lifetime learners for progressive change.
SUNx is a program of the EU based, not for profit Green Growth and Travelism Institute, and a legacy to the late Maurice Strong – sustainable development pioneer. Its goal is to promote Climate Resilient, Impact-Travel with good & bad effects measured and managed coherently: with Green Growth at the core and, 2050-proof in line with the Paris Accords and the W.E.F. 4th Industrial Revolution. At its heart are SUNx Centres: prefabricated, solar powered climate research and innovation centres for climate resilience learning and capacity building.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said:
“We believe that this centre will become a valuable focal point for subsequent research and action to link issues like coastal protection, greenhouse gas reduction and Impact-Travel, with access to world class experts in encouraging long-term Green Growth and Travelism as well as Tourism and Natural Capital Assessment.”
Professor Geoffrey Lipman, SUNx Co-founder said:
“We are proud to be working in partnership with the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism who are taking a lead in the fight against eXistential climate change. Small Island Developing States, (SIDS), like the Seychelles will feel the effects of climate change first and we applaud the progressive attitude towards developing climate resilience before it’s too late.”
Good Bye from Taleb Rifai Secretary General UNWTO
I want to thank you dearly for the incredibly rewarding years serving you as Secretary General of UNWTO .
They were 12 of the best years of my life Merry x mass and the best 2018
Taleb Rifai Secretary-General World Tourism Organization