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Africa Needs to Rewrite Narrative for Brand Africa, Alain St Ange

Africa Needs to Rewrite Narrative for Brand Africa, Alain St Ange

Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles) – September 3, 2017 ( – Towards the end of this coming week, the World of Tourism will be travelling to Chengdu in China for the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) General Assembly (September 11-16, 2017). Chengdu will be at the centre of tourism as the confirmation of the newly elected UNWTO Secretary General will be tabled to the General Assembly. China will be the host, and global leadership in the field of tourism, will be in their grasp. It will be the opportunity for Dr Taleb Rifai to show the successes of the UNWTO and also pave the way for what will be his legacy. The world at large accepts that the UNWTO is a great organisation and that it is greater than any tourism Minister or personality. The UNWTO must survive the current challenges.

The World of Tourism is still questioning the African Union’s endorsement of a candidate for Secretary General that became an ultimatum for Africa with severe economic sanctions threatened if anyone dared challenge this dictatorial approach. The United Nations cannot live with such situations and must distance itself away from bullying tactics that removes the freedom of choice, of association and of engaged participation.

Currently as threats of instability on a global stage is being felt more and its ripple effects becoming more serious, delegates from 155 countries of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) scheduled to be in Chengdu, China for the upcoming General Assembly, will need to look at their organisation and at the tourism industry.

Africa on its part will again be re-looking at itself and the need to rewrite its narrative for Brand Africa. The 54 States that make up the Continent of Africa remain committed to the consolidation of tourism for their country, and they are all individually working tirelessly on their key tourism source markets to consolidate their tourism. Often this is hampered by the actions or inactions, and the happenings in some of the States of Africa. Ongoing abuse and lack of respect and democracy is eating away at human rights, and the absence of the rule of law remains troubling. This affects the narrative for Brand Africa. A recent article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of a print edition under the headline “Bleak house” where it is written that the World Justice Project, an NGO based in Washington, DC, considers the main points listed in this report among 44 factors to construct an annual Rule of Law Index. This article hides nothing when Afrobarometer, a pollster, asked people in 35 African countries whether they thought judges were corrupt, 65% said that “some” or “most” of them were. Another 11% did not hedge their bets, answering that “all of them” were crooks. Africa cannot and will never be just a tourism destination onto itself, it needs to be part of the global community it relies on for its tourists and trade.

China at the centre of tourism as newly elected UNWTO Secretary General to be tabled

The World of Tourism will be travelling to Chengdu in China for the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) General Assembly set for the 11 to the 16 September 2017. All eyes will be on Chengdu, and this great city will be at the centre of tourism as the confirmation of the newly elected UNWTO Secretary General will be table to the General Assembly.

China will be the host for the 2017 General Assembly of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation).

This will be the last General Assembly to be chaired by Dr. Taleb Rifai, the current Secretary General of the UNWTO. It will be the opportunity for the highly popular and very respected Dr. Rifai to show case the successes of the UNWTO and also pave the way for what will be his legacy. The World of Tourism is unanimous in their support for Dr. Rifai who has worked tirelessly for tourism and for unity in this industry that remains so important for many an economy across the world and for providing employment for one in every six jobs.

At the Chengdu UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) General Assembly, China will see global leadership in the field of tourism in their grasp. The UNWTO as an organisation remains greater than any tourism Minister or personality. The UNWTO must survive the current challenges.

UNWTO needs to establish a Committee of its elders to re-look at rules and procedures for its future elections in a bid to redress possible anomalies. The World of Tourism cannot stop endorsements by any Regional of Continental Bodies such as what happened by the African Union when they endorsement of a candidate for Secretary General. What the United Nations cannot and should not accept is that an endorsement becomes an ultimatum for a Region or Continent. Basic freedoms falling under the concept of Human Rights must be respected and these include the freedom of choice, the freedom of association and the freedom of engaged participation. The African Union call for economic sanction if the Seychelles Candidate was not withdrawn was an assault on the sovereign right of an Independent State who fought to break away from Colonial Rule.

Delegates from 155 countries of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are scheduled to be in Chengdu, China for this upcoming General Assembly to look at their organisation and at the tourism industry.

While China is bound to become the biggest player in outbound and inbound tourism it is also recognised that the Chinese are recognised as the largest in spending on holidays. China is set to hold the record to be the largest in air traffic and the biggest destination for the MICE market, the meeting and incentive business. China can and China must now show leadership to keep tourism moving forward.

Is your sunscreen destroying coral reefs?

Climate change has been deemed the most general culprit of coral bleaching globally. However, recent studies have shown that a common compound, oxybenzone found in sunscreen is causing mass devastation to coral reefs. The UV-absorbing chemical has been shown to poison coral in several ways. In recent studies, biologists have shown that this compound disrupts reproduction and growth, leaving young corals fatally deformed. Even in minute doses, the researchers found, oxybenzone rapidly bleaches coral and slows new growth: A single drop in 4.3 million gallons of water (about six and a half Olympic-size swimming pools) is enough to be deadly. It is estimated that 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotions end up in coral reefs each year.

Popular phrases such as the Australian ‘slip-slop-slap’ motto have been used prominently by media to encourage people to apply sunscreen to protect against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. It’s a certainly a cruel irony that skin protection has come at such a cost to the ocean. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Mineral sunscreens which have the active ingredients titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are one option.

As mentioned in a previous issue of the Saint Ange Tourism Report, coral reefs can contribute a substantial amount to the marine environment and to the economies of countries that are lucky to have them. Therefore, it is in the benefit of those countries to do all that they can to help preserve these ecosystems. Many places such as Hawaii, the Virgin Islands and South Florida are beginning to follow through with the banning of sunscreens containing oxybenzone. It is hope that many other countries including the Seychelles will follow in their footsteps in order to preserve coral reefs for future generations.

Air Mauritius promotes Singapore as a destination as Seychelles consolidates itself in the Middle East

Air Mauritius recently organised a meeting with several travel agencies to present Singapore as a destination for Mauritians. This approach will in return bring visibility for Mauritius and Singapore. The meeting in Mauritius was organised in collaboration with Changi Airport Singapore and it was the occasion for Raj Deenanath, the VP Sales Support and Distribution for Air Mauritius, to review all the direct flights proposed by the airline company on Singapore since March 2016. It is confirmed that there has been a constant progress in the occupancy rate of Air Mauritius with 10 points difference between financial years 2015/2016 and 2016/2017, reaching 80.7%. The first quarter of the current financial year is very positive. Air Mauritius transported 17,000 passengers on this route representing an increase of 10% compared to the same period in 2016.

The various assets of the Singaporian hub have also been presented. Air Mauritius offers connections to 15 destinations from this hub: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Perth, Sydney, Jakarta, Denpasar, Medan, Palembang, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok, Samui, Manilla, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh. The code share agreement with Singapore Airlines also offers other options.

With the increasing demand on the Mauritius-Singapore route, Air Mauritius decided to increase its flights as from December this year passing to four weekly flights, and according to Raj Deenanath, there could even be a fifth flight operated in 2018.

Changi Airport Singapore was represented by Sarah Ong Mei Shan, Manager Airport Development, and Neo Wei Shan, Manager Passenger Development. Sarah Ong Mei Shan who made a presentation on Singapore, talked about the touristic best sellers – the zoo, river safari, Sentosa Shopping, stunning hotels, leisure parks, cruising offers, and F1 races that could interest Mauritians. She also mentioned the various new and ongoing projects, namely the opening of the fourth terminal at Changi Airport before the end of this year and the opening of the Jewel Changi Airport in 2019 and that will offer a unique experience with an unexpected architecture.

The travel agents have been able to meet two Singaporean DMCs who came to Mauritius for the occasion, The Traveller and Luxury Tours.

Seychelles Tourism Board on its part, has moved to target consumer-driven advertising to attract more visitors from the Middle East

With the aim of capitalizing on growing interest in Seychelles among holidaymakers in the Middle East region, the Seychelles Tourism Board is aiming to create more brand awareness to further position the island nation as a destination of choice in that region.

According to statistics, over 20,000 visitors from the Middle East have travelled to the Seychelles Islands from January to July this year. This represents a growth of 30 percent.

The United Arab Emirates is one market that is doing remarkably well. Currently standing as the third main source market, the UAE has sent 18,574 visitors to Seychelles up to 20th August, representing a 24 percent increase.

Aiming to keep the tourism numbers growing, the STB’s regional office in Dubai is getting ready to launch a series of marketing initiatives ranging from outdoor advertising as well as taxi, SMS and YouTube advertising campaigns.

The campaigns will be launched in several regions of the Middle-East, namely in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia – mainly in Riyadh and Jeddah, Kuwait, Qatar & Bahrain.

The Seychelles Tourism Board’s regional manager for the Middle East Ahmed Fathallah said “for the past several years one of our main strategies was to educate the trade partners with Seychelles’ unique selling points, however the market needs has changed wherein it is now more consumer driven.”

“With this we are adapting on the trend and we are positive that this will meet our objectives and return on investment will be quantifiable on the later stage through the number of visitors to Seychelles,” he added.

The majority of the campaigns will run for a little over two months, mainly between September and October.

For the outdoor advertising campaign, 23 double sided MUPI advertising panels will be launched at 3 business communities in Dubai. This is a mass marketing campaign where several artworks depicting key scenes of the Seychelles will be portrayed featuring tags translated into Arabic.

Aimed at captivating the attention of as many on the go consumers in Dubai, the taxi campaign will see some 50 taxis being fully branded with artworks depicting the Seychelles sceneries and the Tourism Board’s logo.

Targeting online consumers in the 25 to 60 age group, a 20-seconds non-skippable clip of the Seychelles will be featured on YouTube. The advertising campaign will be focussed on encouraging bookings and will be targeting potential travellers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar & Bahrain.

The SMS campaign is one that will run for one year, where ‘Seychelles TB’ will be the sender ID used to try and take advantage of the peak travel seasons in Middle East including the EID holiday, to drive more travellers to Seychelles.

The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs. Sherin Francis said: “It is important that we constantly look for ways to reach out to the discerning travellers as part of our strategy, so that we remain top of mind. For our source markets this strategy is as important as our trade relationships.”

“In the case of UAE and the Middle East region, they are source markets with good air connectivity, ideal for both short and long weekend breaks, given that we are visa-free. I believe that as a destination we should be able to appeal to the travellers from there,” she added.

Aside of the UAE, other Middle Eastern countries are also performing well in spite of not sending impressive number of visitors to Seychelles.

Arrivals from Qatar have increased by 167 percent with 2,369 visitors having disembarked in Seychelles from January to July this year, compared to 886 during the same period in 2016.

As for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain the arrival numbers have increased by 12 percent and 22 percent respectively.

Saudi Arabia has sent 1,465 visitors to Seychelles from January to July compared to 1,313 during the same period in 2016, while visitor arrivals from Bahrain stands at 396 for the first seven months of the year, compared to only 324 during the same period in 2016.

Daniella Payet-Alis receives Country and Regional award at CEO Global Regional Symposium and Recognition Awards 2017/2018

Daniella´s pioneering role in shaping Seychelles’ tourism industry, building her own companies and dedicating her time and passion to the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) have earnt her two awards at the Regional Symposium and Recognition Awards organized by CEO Global, Africa´s Most Influential Women in Business and Government and Titans on September 29th 2017 at the Hennessy Park Hotel in Mauritius.

As one of the leading African recognition programmes, the awards celebrate leaders from 8 different regions, including the Indian Ocean region, at country and regional level in 23 categories. More than 4000 nominations were brought forward on an anonymous basis from around the African continent and island states. A multi-tier judging process, overseen by KPMG, identifies strong business leaders, such as Daniella, who inspire their country and region and dedicate their life to their respective fields. Tourism and Leisure was one of the categories, among agriculture, SME, education, government officials, sports and others. All regional winners qualify for the continental award ceremony which takes place once a year in South Africa.

Daniella was invited to speak on a panel among business leaders from Mauritius and Madagascar, discussing the importance of the blue economy for island states, alongside with new technologies and highlighting opportunities for women and youth in the region.

The symposium, animated by the award host Annelize Wepener, was followed by the award ceremony, which celebrated 17 leaders from Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles. After winning a country award for her achievements and dedication to the tourism industry in Seychelles, Daniella was called on stage again for the regional award in the category of Tourism & Leisure. Her emotional speech highlighted the love she feels for her country and family, honouring especially the role her parents played in her career. Daniella emphasized the importance of connecting and exchanging ideas and good practices in the region, very much in line with the mission of her foundation, which aims at being a facilitating platform to provide synergies and allow tourism stakeholders from public, private sector, NGOs and academia to come together and work on a collaborative approach towards sustainable tourism in the Seychelles. The SSTF helps to build partnerships, forums of discussions (events, conferences) and connect different stakeholders. Having received these two awards, Daniella wishes to become an ambassador and encourage more fellow talented Seychellois who have made a difference in their fields to take parts in these awards.

On behalf of the Saint Ange Tourism Report we take this opportunity to say congratulations to Daniella Payet-Alis for her receiving the country and regional award at CEO Global Regional Symposium and Recognition Awards 2017/2018

Hotel Classification in Seychelles opens the way for independent private sector consultancy works

Last year, meetings were held with General Managers of large hotels and the one-island one-resort properties, to discuss the proposed hotel classification program for Seychelles as part of the continuing consultation with hoteliers on the upcoming hotel classification program.

The series of meetings was called to further brief hoteliers on the programs so far and the way forward. It was also an opportunity to air some of the concerns that hoteliers have expressed vis-a-vis the program.

The Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, opened the meeting by highlighting once again the objectives of the hotel classification program and spelled out its benefits to the potential clients, the hotels, and the Seychelles tourism industry as a whole. The planning of the exercise has received the support of an expert from the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) and as Government finalises the necessary rules and regulations for the formal hotel classification program, new opportunities for Seychellois spring up.

Nigel Payet was working with the Ministry of Tourism but has now launched himself in his very own Consultancy Business.

Aged 35, Nigel Payet graduated in Maritime studies at the Seychelles Polytechnic in 2002 and has worked with DMCs and other Tourism Related activities before joining the Seychelles Tourism Board in 2009 as Quality & Standard officer.

His duties at the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Board gave him the necessary experience to launch himself into his own business. He used to assist and review and upgrade all tourism establishments by providing technical assistance to tourism stakeholders, maintain regular contact with the trade and establish a working relationship to ensure correct implementation of rules and regulations, Monitor, inspect on a regular basis the standards of all tourism establishments and other tourism related services, Monitor hotels and restaurants performance levels to ensure that product is diversified enough and high standards are maintained, Liaise with owners and operators to advise them on policy requirements and criteria, Assist with policy formulation and criteria development and review, Propose new ways of enhancing products and Assist with comments on new tourism projects.

“During my employment, I have attended serval trainings, workshops, exposures and seminars locally and internationally to enhance my knowledge and skills. I assisted and participated in all the activities organized by the Ministry and the Tourism Board. E.g.: Carnival International de Victoria, SUBIOS etc. Prior to my resignation I have work closely with the consultant from the UNWTO in the preparation for the implementation of the Seychelles Classification program. I acted as assessor in 2016 to conduct the advisory visit of the hotels to pilot test the criteria for classification program.” said Nigel Payet

He resigned in February 2017 for a new challenge to pursue in a new venture as a Tourism Consultant to be close to the Tourism Industry.

Nigel Payet today offers 4 core Services of the business:

– Provide services in connection with the Company’s goals & success.
– Provide technical assistance to hotels in achieving the highest star* rating and scoring for the grading system and thereafter ensure that the hotel is operating -according to its grading awarded.
– Provide technical assistance to hotels interested in achieving the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL) and thereafter ensure that the label is maintained at the required standards.
– Ensure quality and maintenance of the hotel & asses/evaluate the service and products on offer on a regular basis.

Nigel Justin PAYET, is an Internal Auditor ISO 9001 & 14001/ Tourism Consultant with N Consultant Services

Eco-Tourism Cruises in Mauritius with a slogan

Eco-Tourism means different things to different people, but the important thing is for tourism operators to be embarking on the road to sustainable tourism and wanting to be seen as good custodians of what our world has been blessed with.

Today Mauritius has its eco-tourism cruises that depart from Grand Bay, the bustling and attractive town in the north of Mauritius referred to as Mauritius’ response to the French Riviera!

Grand Bay fun Island Tour Operator, CatamaranParty Grand Bay with other several local service providers & Catamaran Cruise are promoting what they are calling an Eco-Tourism Cruise.

What’s an Eco Cruise? There’s a new school of thought in the world of cruising. It goes by several names, including eco-cruise, sustainable tourism or green travel. Sustainable eco-tourism means traveling to a location – usually to appreciate its natural beauty – while striving to impact that environment as little as possible. Sustainable tourism also seeks to educate the traveler about the area’s history and natural resources such as land, waterways and wildlife. Ideally, eco-tourism helps spread a message of responsible environmental stewardship and conservation.