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Local and foreign delegates discuss heritage and cultural tourism development in Seychelles

Local and foreign delegates discuss heritage and cultural tourism development in Seychelles ( Local and foreign delegates are meeting in Seychelles for a four-day conference on world heritage and cultural tourism development.

The conference is being organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the Festival Kreol Organizing Committee, the Seychelles Heritage Foundation, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and the International Committee of Cultural Tourism.

The opening ceremony of the conference was held on Monday at the Mission Lodge, one of Seychelles’ cultural and heritage assets.

Present at the opening were the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, Principal Secretaries of the Ministry Benjamine Rose and Anne Lafortune, members of the diplomatic corps, and many who have strong sentiments about the preservation of the islands’ heritage sites.

Mission Lodge is e-marked by the government as a top priority nominee for World Heritage nomination and is on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) tentative list.

Work is being intensified to have another one of Seychelles’ cultural assets, Mission Lodge, become a World Heritage site after Aldabra and Vallee de Mai.

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture is preparing a nomination dossier to send to UNESCO to have Mission Lodge, which is also known as Venn’s Town, recognized as a World Heritage site.

Its importance lies in the fact that its ruins bear testimony of a vital chapter in the history of Seychelles.

Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Heritage Foundation, Patrick Nanty, said Mission Lodge is an edifice with great historical value.

He said the conference and the presence of the many experts in the protection of cultural heritage across the world will help Seychelles in the development of its cultural tourism and to boost cooperation with other counterparts in regards to the protection of its cultural heritage assets.

Mr. Nanty said every citizen of Seychelles should be concerned with the protection of the country’s heritage, and the country needs to seek regional and international partnerships to better attain the aim of protecting cultural heritage assets for the future generation.

The President of the International Council Tourism Committee of ICOMOS, Sue Miller, said she considers Seychelles as a heritage in itself, as the islands were under the British colony once.

“It is my heritage, our heritage, and we need to share its richness and value to the world,” she said.

Mrs. Miller added that by protecting this heritage will also mean preserving Seychelles’ identity.

She said the heritage of a country represents a platforms to unite people from across the globe.

Mrs. Miller also spoke on the importance of bonding culture and tourism as both depend upon each other.

During the ceremony, Cedric Thomas, from the Constance Ephelia Resort, presented a donation to the Seychelles Heritage Foundation to finance the publication of the book entitled “Larout Patrimwann Port Glaud,” which will be about the cultural heritage of this district.

Launching the conference, Minister St.Ange said it was important to launch this conference at the Mission Lodge site so that the international delegates can explore for themselves the richness of this cultural site.

He added that it is important for Seychelles to believe and recognize the vitality of protecting these sites as they are part of the country’s culture and history, adding that it is needed to know where the Seychellois come from and where they are heading.

Minister St.Ange said instead of these ruins at this site located at Sans Souci, there could have been a five-start resort which could have been a plus to the tourism industry, but the government decided that protecting this historical site was of greater value and importance.

“We need to protect what we have for our future generation, our children. We need to understand that they also have to appreciate our history and play their part in preserving it for all generations,” he said.

“To protect our culture, we need tourism, and to sustain our tourism industry, we need culture,” he added.

Minister St.Ange and Mrs. Miller also planted a Sandragon (dragon) tree, or dragon blood tree, each at the site, to mark the occasion.


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