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Seychelles featured in March issue of UK magazine with interview of islands’ Minister, Alain St.Ange

Seychelles featured in March issue of UK magazine with interview of islands’ Minister, Alain St.Ange ( The Seychelles archipelago, 115 islands off East Africa in the Indian Ocean, boasts coral reefs, white sandy beaches, and a plethora of wildlife, including giant tortoises and dugongs. Those who live there pride themselves on providing a memorable cultural experience for visitors while striving to protect the natural wonders that have put the islands on the map.

“We have 90,000 inhabitants and receive 3 times as many tourists. We have to preserve what we have, because tourism is a pillar of our economy, and we have a responsibility to safeguard such beauty,” Alain St Ange, Minister, Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture, told me when he paid a visit to London ahead of the ITB Berlin trade show. He said the British market was extremely resilient. “Last year we welcomed 16,687 visitors from the UK; a 32% increase over 2014,” said the minister.

He said the eco-friendly nature of the islands was part of the attraction. “The Seychelles was doing ecotourism way before it was even in vogue,” he explained, giving examples such as rules governing 
the height of buildings; island farms contributing to hotel menus; and the government’s rebuttal of offers to build a resort on untouched Aldabra Island – a sanctuary for150,000 land tortoises.

Thanks to high-profile honeymooners such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Seychelles is often considered solely the preserve of wealthy newlyweds, but St.Ange insisted it has the breadth of accommodation to fit the more modest budgets of those flying in economy class.

“We have home-grown 2 and 3-star hotels alongside international brands such as Four Seasons, Raffles, and Banyan Tree. It’s a happy mix of visitors,” he added. When it comes to competition, St.Ange said he considered the Caribbean as the Seychelles’ main rival rather than its Indian Ocean neighbors such as Mauritius, the Maldives, and La Reunion.

“We don’t see the Indian Ocean as competition. That’s why we formed the Vanilla Islands alliance – to sell ourselves as a new tourism region. Today, no island can be an island unto itself. If you are making the effort to cross the world for a holiday, why not see two destinations at the same time?” Minister St.Ange stated.

The Caribbean might be renowned for its carnivals, but St.Ange is keen to promote Seychelles’ own Carnaval International de Victoria, from April 22-24 on Mahe: “It’s the only carnival where all the world parades together,” he explained. “A delegation from Brazil is followed by Notting Hill, and Germany, and so on. It’s a United Nations of culture.”


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