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Seychelles takes the floor at the 20th General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Seychelles takes the floor at the 20th General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) (Forimmediaterelease.net) Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture took to the podium on the first day of the Plenary Session of the 20th General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to present his address.

The Plenary Session that was attended by Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO, was held at the Elephant Hill Hotel in Zimbabwe and co-chaired by the Tourism Ministers of Zimbabwe and Zambia as the General Assembly's joint Co-Presidents.

The Seychelles Minister started his address by saying that he was not taking to the floor to spell out the virtues of Seychelles. “I really do not need to remind you of the unique USPs of Seychelles, because you are all here as tourism heads from the Community of Nations, and as such you all know the unrivaled beauty of the Seychelles. If I was going to talk about clean white sandy beaches that is synonymous with Seychelles, you will all say that this attribute of Seychelles you already know. The same about our warm, our clean, and our clear turquoise blue seas. But it is about the people, the Creole population of Seychelles, this you need to be reminded of. It is important to remind you all that we are as diverse a population as it can be living on 115 tropical mid-ocean islands," Minister St.Ange said as he started his intervention.

The Minister from the Seychelles went on to explain that he started his intervention with this remark to be able to make a statement on the diversity that makes the Seychelles. The Minister was referring to the diversity in the composition of islands that makes the Seychelles, as these islands are composed of both granitic islands and the flat coral islands over and above the diversity in the island's population, culture, and cuisine, and because of the seriousness of the Seychelles via a via its tourism industry. “We are a country where tourism remains the pillar of our economy," the Seychelles Minister said.

“Diversity is also reflected in the Membership of the UNWTO. This is why I spoke about diversity that exists in Seychelles, and this is why we need to ensure that politics and religion remain outside the world of tourism," Minister St.Ange from the Seychelles said.

Minister Alain St.Ange then went on to talk about tourism in Africa and for the need for Africa to be united in their tourism drive. The Seychelles Minister said: “I now need to take a minute to look at the continent where we sit as Seychelles. At the tree planting ceremony last week in Livingstone Zambia, the Founding President, Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, said One Zambia, One Nation. Taking a leaf from his vision I say today One Africa, One United People. Mr. Chairman, a united people can spell out the ambition for Africa to work with Africa if we want Africa to become strong, and if we want Africa to have a consolidated tourism industry, but for Africa to work with Africa, it is important for Africa to know Africa. So friends, colleagues, and tourism professionals here present let us join together to make Africa strong. We can do that, yes we can.

“Today I commend the Secretary General of the African Union, Mrs. Dlamini Zuma, for having accepted to hear the plea we ourselves made, but a plea that was supported by many Member States. This plea was to have a Tourism Chapter under the auspices of the African Union, but an African Tourism Grouping working under and working with the UNWTO," the Seychelles Minister said.

Minister Alain St.Ange then spoke about what Africa had as historical listed icons or places with outstanding natural beauty. “The time has arrived for an African Heritage Site listing and labeled accordingly. We have to encourage ourselves to declare these sites as protected for humanity, because they are the treasures we have," the Seychelles Minister said.

On the UNWTO, Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles said that he valued the moral tourism body. “We salute the work of its Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai. Today we also want to congratulate Elsia Grandcourt on her appointment as the Director for Africa at the UNWTO. Dr. Rifai, your gain is our loss, a loss for Seychelles. On a different point, one humble observation from Seychelles is to request the UNWTO to work more in and to work more with UNWTO Member States. We all see meetings and we all see programs in countries who are not members of the UNWTO. This is not encouraging them to become members. We really need to revisit our plan of action to be member centered," the Seychelles Minister said.

The address by Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles then moved his attention to events organized in Africa. He spoke about the Tourism Trade Fair of INDABA in South Africa and about the carnival of carnivals, the Carnaval International de Victoria, that is staged during the last weekend of April annually.

“A carnival where the best and where the most-known carnivals of the world parade together and side by side are followed by cultural troupes from the Community of Nations, using culture and people for the marketing of a destination. This is what Seychelles offers to the world through its carnival in Africa," the Seychelles Minister said.

Minister Alain St.Ange also spoke about the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization of which he is the sitting President. He touched on the September Ministerial meeting which will be held in La Reunion Island but a day before the UNWTO Sustainable Tourism meeting under the chairmanship of Taleb Rifai himself. The Minister qualified the grouping's aim as working together as islands of the Indian Ocean in the field of marketing.

When he was concluding his address, Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles said, “Many points can continue to be made and many challenges can be tabled, but key to our success is our individual ability to work together."

MEDIA CONTACT: seychellesupdatednews@googlemail.com

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