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Sri Lanka set to join Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization

Sri Lanka set to join Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization ( Shekhar Niyogi from Kolkata announced on July 25, 2014 that Sri Lanka would be joining the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Organization by the end of 2014. The article, following an announcement made last week, stated that this would leverage the consortium's inter-island packages to drive tourism.

The Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization was set up in 2010 and includes the islands of Comoros, La Reunion, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mayotte, and the Seychelles as member islands.

“The prime objective of the Vanilla Islands Regional Organization is to position the Indian Ocean region as a quality world-class holiday destination," said Pascal Viroleau, CEO of the Vanilla islands. “We are promoting inter-island packages and part of the strategy to increase visitor numbers to member destinations is to prepare new products and packages… and to include new members.”

Priority markets for the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands are France, Germany, the UK, Japan, and India. The Regional Organization has partnered Air Austral for the Vanilla Islands Pass that allows travelers to visit several islands with discounted fares and prices.

Kapil Berera, CEO, Astral Travels New Delhi, said: “Most visitors to Sri Lanka would prefer to combine it with another smaller island destination like Maldives.”

Mitesh Dani, Managing Director, Parul Tours&Travels Mumbai, explained: “Island destinations offer exotic travel options, and if more islands join [the] Vanilla Islands, the pool of products that can be offered will be immense.”

He observed that the islands’ close proximity would allow for seamless travel connections.

Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture and the first President of the Regional Organization for two consecutive terms, has been advocating the need to the six original member islands to grow their regional organization by inviting other islands of the Indian Ocean to join. In May this year, Minister St.Ange handed over the reins of the Presidency to Didier Robert, the President of the Regional Council of La Reunion Island.


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