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Cote Nord Magazine of Mauritius zooms in on the re-election of Alain St.Ange as the Vanilla Islands President

Cote Nord Magazine of Mauritius zooms in on the re-election of Alain St.Ange as the Vanilla Islands President ( The re-election of Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, at the helm of the Vanilla Islands for a second year running was taken up in Cote Nord’s June-July edition. Cote Nord is a full-color magazine of some 124 pages sold in book stands in Mauritius and Paris, France. The magazine is also widely distributed in hotel rooms in Mauritius.

In a five-page article entitled, “Vanilla Islands,” Minister Alain St.Ange explains that the future of the Indian Ocean tourism industry can but be enhanced by the concept of the Vanilla Islands. Highlighting his ultimate conviction, Minister St.Ange says that the Vanilla Islands concept can only survive with the spirit of togetherness where Seychelles, Mauritius, La Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros, and Mayotte are seen to be working together on common objectives.

Minister Alain St.Ange stated that the Vanilla Island’s main vision is to position the Indian Ocean region in the international tourism arena. “Without the Vanilla Islands Regional Organization concept, this vision of togetherness will be but a mirage. The tourism global industry is continuously being hit by global recession with the worst yet to come. We can survive this recession hitting our main traditional tourism markets by combining our forces together. The force of our islands lies in our common experiences and in our diversity. We can learn from each other, and this will help us move in the right direction,” Alain St.Ange is quoted as saying in the article.

The President of the Vanilla Islands admitted that the task ahead for this Indian Ocean Regional Organization is huge. But he acknowledges that the island grouping is taking its mission at heart and working tirelessly to attain its set objectives.

“The Middle East and Asia are our targeted markets. We believe that these markets are in the lookout for island destinations like ours. But our marketing efforts should not concentrate solely on these markets, but we also have to continue to work hard to consolidate our presence on our core traditional markets in Europe. We should not forget that all our islands are known in these markets and that we have all invested heavily over many, many years fighting for our fair share of these markets. We are now planning to mount an aggressive common promotional campaign using DVDs, brochures, and more of the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands.”

Cote Nord relates in the magazine that air connectivity within the Indian Ocean Islands remains an issue of concern which could jeopardize the concept of the Vanilla Islands if a solution is not found. The President of the Vanilla Islands agrees that the concept can only work through efficient air connectivity within the islands of the Indian Ocean. “It is true that access to efficient air connectivity within the islands of the Indian Ocean will enable our partner tour operators to sell the region through combined packages of one, two, or three islands at a time. Tour operators are continuously requesting for such twin-center or three islands regional packages of which they believe fervently in its success. Holiday makers see our region as a long-haul destination, and they need to see the maximum when making the trip.”

Responding to Cote du Nord’s comment that some Vanilla Islands are more successful than others, Alain St.Ange refuted the idea that there is competition between the islands. “I really believe that the best way to move forward is to put aside our differences and to look at the successes of our sister islands as being our region's successes. We should unite instead of creating divisions. Tourism is evolving. The choice of destinations is gradually getting larger. Are we in a position to sit and wait for our islands’ respective tourism arrival numbers to correspond to our expectations, or should we not evolve with the trend and be innovative as a region? That’s the question that we should be asking. I am convinced that through the Vanilla Islands we can bring our region forward in more than one avenue; for example, we can join together to promote cruise liners in the region. We are the only region besides the Caribbean offering cruise line routes with a difference. We have from Africa, our diversity of islands, India, and Asia in the one route, and this with the smaller passenger ships. Everything can be possible by working together,” concluded Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.

PHOTO: Cote Nord Magazine with extracts of pages covering the article on Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture


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