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South Africa and the world hear all about the mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles as islands' Minister for Tourism addresses Peace through Tourism conference in Johannesburg

South Africa and the world hear all about the mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles as islands' Minister for Tourism addresses Peace through Tourism conference in Johannesburg ( Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, was one of the last speakers to take to the podium on Tuesday at the Peace through Tourism Conference organized by Louis D'Amore of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT). This important tourism meeting (IIPT World Symposium: Cultivating Sustainable, Prosperous and Peaceful Communities and Nations through Tourism, Culture and Sports) rallied tourism experts from some 30 countries.

The Seychelles Minister delivered his address as he played the latest Seychelles promotional DVD on the two large screens positioned on the two sides of the stage. The beautiful pictures of the Seychelles captivated the audience as Minister St.Ange delivered his address that he describes comes from his heart. Minister Alain St.Ange spoke about the need for togetherness. “No island can be an island unto itself any longer," he said, as he spoke about the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Concept (Seychelles, Mauritius, La Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte, and the Maldives) and the East3Route partnership he enjoys with South Africa KwaZulu Natal, the Kingdom of Swaziland, and Mozambique.

Minister Alain St.Ange started his intervention saying: “The International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) called us to discuss cultivating sustainable and peaceful communities and nations through tourism, culture, and sports. To take us back to basics, we are in this symposium honoring the legacies of three great champions of peace and non-violence - Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. These three men shaped the world, but they are three men who were underestimated, because they were just ordinary people. The establishments of the era underestimated people power. This came about when the people and their culture and their aspirations and dreams were challenged, but if we are honoring these three great leaders in this symposium, it is because they are men whose long walk to freedom and whose lives were put before their own freedom and riches as they built respect and understanding of their very own people and their cultures," said St.Ange of the Seychelles.

Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles went on to address the topic he had been invited to develop that of “Regional and Sectorial Perspectives Driving Peace Through Tourism.” The Seychelles Minister said: “As I come from the African mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles, we say back home that no Island can be an island unto itself. If we are to take the message of the three leaders we are honoring forward, we need to seriously consider that we all need to build peace through dialogue," Minister St.Ange said.

He went on to spell out the special attractions of Seychelles and spoke about the drive by Seychelles to work with regional and international partners. “In unity we are strong," he said, “La Reunion Island has a live volcano which we do not have, but when we are working together, this mid-ocean volcano is ours, too, and our pristine white sandy beaches offering unrivaled swimming is theirs as well."

When he ended his address, the Seychelles Minister spoke emotionally about the drive by Seychelles to place their culture at the heart of their tourism development. “A few years ago, our President, Mr. James Michel, told the people of Seychelles that we had to claim back our tourism industry. The President of our Republic wanted more Seychellois to embark in tourism-based businesses, and this both large and small. The President was very right because then the people are in, and you do not risk having the sad statements of them and us echoed by the islanders when they look at foreign entrepreneurs. This is also the same time that President Michel said that Seychelles, even with the best in sun, sea, and sand holidays, should position the islands’ culture at the center of the marketing of the islands," the island's Minister said.

“Today, Seychelles has done exactly that, and our culture, and in so doing our people, are very much at the center of our tourism development which puts them at the center of the island's development, because tourism remains the pillar of our country's economy," Minister Alain St.Ange said in ending.


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