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India hears all about the Seychelles as the island's Minister St.Ange addresses the 34th International Congress of NRIs in Delhi the day before President Obama of the USA lands in India

India hears all about the Seychelles as the island's Minister St.Ange addresses the 34th International Congress of NRIs in Delhi the day before President Obama of the USA lands in India ( Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, was in India as the Chief Guest for the 34th International Congress of the NRIs and delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Congress.

Minister St.Ange, who was being accompanied on the working visit to India by Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, used a Seychelles promotional DVD as his backdrop as he delivered his very passionate address spoken from the heart. With no prewritten script, Minister Alain St.Ange addressed the full banquet hall on the key USPs (Unique Selling Points) of the Seychelles.

“I am truly humbled by this invitation to be the Chief Guest at the 34th International Congress and for me to join such a distinguished group of Indian nationals coming from the four corners of the world. You are not only a distinguished group, but you are a group of very successful Indian entrepreneurs," said Minister St.Ange.

“I come from one of the smallest countries, with only some ninety-thousand inhabitants, and today find myself addressing one of the most populous world powers. I start by congratulating the NRIs leaders and the President, because through your efforts you ensure that the Indian flag continues to fly high, and through your determination you continue to unite the Indian nationals from the four corners of the world, and you are helping them to connect," Minister St.Ange added before saying that he was in India last year where he proudly received the Mahatma Gandhi Award and that in February he had been invited to deliver a keynote address in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the lives of Mahatma Ganghi, Martin Luther-King Jr., and Nelson Mandela at the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) convention.

“My message in South Africa will be, believe in people, because no one in position at that time believed that simple people can challenge a system and at the same time make their mark on the world," the Seychelles Minister said to great applause.

Speaking about the virtues of the Seychelles with his country's promotional DVD projected on the big screen in the banquet hall, the Seychelles Minister said that Seychelles was proud to be a country that associates itself with India. “We not only share the same ocean, the Indian Ocean, but we are proud to have had India as part of our five core branches that gave roots to the Seychelles population. Yes, we come from France, Africa, Great Britain, China, and India, but today we are all one and proudly living as Creole Seychellois. Yes indeed, India played its part, and today our local Indian population is made up of successful business leaders in our country, and we now even have our very own NRI in Seychelles with Pravin Darad as its President," the Minister said as he invited Pravin Darad to stand up to be introduced.

On the Seychelles as a tourism destination for Indian holidaymakers, the Seychelles Minister simply said: “Today I will not stand here to sing the praises for Seychelles, because you all know that this group of mid-ocean tropical islands are not only pretty, but also warm year round (as he spoke about the freezing cold temperature hitting Delhi this week). You also know that Seychelles is a melting pot of cultures, has no factories and, therefore, no pollution. You know that Seychelles has white sandy beaches that are clean and deserted; you know that Seychelles is surrounded by turquoise blue seas that is clear and clean and that is always warm. But above all you all know that Seychelles is the leader in sustainable tourism with over 50% of the islands’ total land area declared protected national parks. You also know that Seychelles is disease free and practices a visa-free policy. I say this because since a few months ago, Seychelles is accessible as never before to Indian holidaymakers and to the business community, because our national airline, Air Seychelles, now flies non-stop direct flights between Seychelles and Mumbai. The flight time is some three-and-a-half hours only. We are neighbors, we have a culture that you can relate to with curries and your fdhal that we call lentils appearing on our daily menu accompanied by rice," Minister St.Ange said.

He also spoke about the joining together of the island's Indian community, the Indian High Commission in Seychelles, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to stage the annual Seychelles-India Day Celebrations. “During this event, the flag of India flies high over Seychelles, accompanied by the sights and sounds, essence, and culinary delights. India has brought Bollywood in all its glamour, distinguished chefs, arts&crafts, etc. This is every October, and this year it is expected to be better and greater still. Let me now take this opportunity to be brave and propose something to you all. The Seychelles-India Day celebrations is a rallying call for the Indian community you call Non Resident Indians. Let NRI adopt this event in Seychelles, and let it become an annual setting for the NRI to hold one of its annual meetings for the Indian community from the four corners of the world," the Seychelles Minister said again to great applause.

Her then spoke about the May Trade Fair in Seychelles that promotes South-South cooperation and the April Carnival of Carnivals in Seychelles, saying that tourism in Seychelles is developed with culture, and that culture is today positioned at the center of the islands’ tourism development, as he invited India to be present officially in the event that rallies the community of nations together.


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