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Tourism Minister from Seychelles says he is privileged to be invited to address Global Indian Summit at House of Lords in London

Tourism Minister from Seychelles says he is privileged to be invited to address Global Indian Summit at House of Lords in London ( Seychelles Minister Alain St.Ange on Monday said, as he took to the podium at the House of Lords in London to address the Global Indian Summit that he felt privileged to have been chosen from all the tourism ministers from the Community of Nations. Minister Alain St.Ange was speaking to a full hall in the presence of the Rt. Honorable Baroness Sandip Verma, Minister of International Development of the UK; Minister Kimmane Rathnakar, the Minister of State of India for Primary&Secondary Education in the government of Kamataka; and Mr. Gauhar Nawab, the President of the International President of the NRI Society of India.

The Tourism and Culture Minister from the Seychelles was in London at the invitation of Baroness Verma to celebrate the Global Indian Summit at the House of Lords. The Minister from the Seychelles, who was himself awarded the Mahatma Ghandi Award in Delhi in 2014, was present as a number of non-resident Indians were decorated with this prestigious award for their outstanding leadership and work.

When he started his address, Minister Alain St.Ange said that it was in Seychelles that we house your dreams using the tag line from the EMGEE Group of India. The island's minister, speaking from his heart and with no written script, congratulated the NRI Society of India for the respect of their Indian community from around the world. “Today, you are rallying your successful country men and women from around the world. You are saying that firstly you know that they exist, and that secondly you have followed their career path. You are respecting them, but you are also ensuring that they remain connected to all the others like them who have been also as successful," said Minister Alain St.Ange before speaking of the tourism attributes of the mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles.

Minister Alain St.Ange earned the respect of the NRI Society of India for being behind recognizing the Seychellois Indian community for the work they have done in Seychelles to help create the example that these islands have become as a melting pot of cultures where the color of one’s skin, ethnic background, religious beliefs, and political affiliation plays no part in determining one's future. “It was Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who was behind the staging of an annual Seychelles-Indian Day Celebration that brings together the Indian community of Seychelles and that helps to recognize their works in the development of the Seychelles," said Mr. Deepak Singh, the Convenor of the NRI Society of India, when he spoke about the minister from these islands.

On this cultural event that today falls on the list of National Events of the Seychelles, Minister Alain St.Ange said: “To better understand us, the people of Seychelles, it is important to understand where we came from. Seychelles was uninhabited when it was discovered. We were initially settled by the French who arrived in the islands with many coming from Africa. We were then conquered by Great Britain and became English. Indian and Chinese adventurers also moved to our islands from very early as workers or simply traders. Today, we have a perfect mix, a real melting pot of cultures. But as a country we recognize each and every historical link that makes us what we are." Minister St.Ange said that the islands celebrated the Fete de la Francophonie and a French Day to mark their links to France, FetAfrik to celebrate the island's African Roots, the Commonwealth Day to celebrate the link with Great Britain, and the Seychelles-India Day Celebrations and the Seychelles-China Day Celebrations to also celebrate the links with these two groupings. These five cultural celebrations then join together in the annual International Creole Day in October and celebrate the Creole Festival (Festival Kreol) to proudly tell the world that today it is but “One People in the One Country.”

When he spoke about his islands, the Tourism and Culture Minister said: “When we say Seychelles, you all think of the best in a sun, sea, and sand holiday. Tonight, I will not speak about the clean and white sandy beaches of our islands, I will not speak about the clear and clean turquoise blue seas that lap these white sandy beaches, nor will I speak about the climate that is warm and pleasant 365 days of the year, because this you all know already. I would like to speak about what you probably do not know.

“Seychelles is a leader in eco-friendly or sustainable tourism. These words have become buzz words since a couple of years, but in Seychelles we were already in that frame of mind, for the protection of what we have been blessed with way before these eco-friendly or sustainable tourism words were thought of as tourism principles. In Seychelles, we protected our islands, because we just wanted to be seen as good custodians of what we have.

“But as we move, we needed to be moving on a solid base of understanding of what we are saying. This is why our islands today has a moratorium on the construction of large hotels. Our Tourism Master Plan is driving the need to have a detailed Land Use Plan and a Carrying Capacity for each village, for each suburb, for each district. We need to have a more scientific approach to defend what we are doing. We know that we want to consolidate our tourism industry because it is that industry that is the pillar of our economy.

“If we want to continue to care for our people, if we want our people to be the happy Seychellois they are, benefiting with free schooling, with free medical, with a pension for everyone when they hit retirement age, with the dream of each and every one to have a home they call theirs, we needed a tourism industry that the people of Seychelles called their own. This is why we moved to appeal to Seychelles to claim back their industry and launched the Seychelles Brand of Tourism. Today more than ever before, the Seychellois are actively involved in their tourism industry, and the industry is being overseen in what we call the perfect public-private sector partnership approach.”

The Seychelles Minister also spoke about accessibility and said that Seychelles was never so well connected to the world as it is today. “We have connections at least four times a day through the two hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We have a direct nonstop service from Paris with Air Seychelles and from Frankfurt by CONDOR. We have good connections via Nairobi in Kenya and also Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, and we connect to La Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Johannesburg in South Africa, and recently we relaunched our Air Seychelles nonstop direct service to Mumbai in India with rates to encourage Indians to discover Seychelles," said Minister St.Ange.

The last part touched on by the Minister from Seychelles was the peace and security that was needed in the world today, as this remains the main catalyst for the development of tourism industries. “Seychelles has an impeccable safety label, but the world, our tourism source markets, need to be at peace with itself if our tourism industry is to succeed. Peace is the most powerful weapon of mankind Mahatma Ghandi said, but we still have not been able to embrace this belief. As we are all gathered, let us take the words of Mr. Ghandi and let us embrace these as our guiding principles," Minister Alain St.Ange said.

PHOTO: Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles at the House of Lords in London on Monday


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