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Tourism trade on La Digue island in the Seychelles gathers in large numbers to meet with Minister Alain St.Ange

Tourism trade on La Digue island in the Seychelles gathers in large numbers to meet with Minister Alain St.Ange (Forimmediaterelease.net) The Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Alain St.Ange, congratulated the tourism trade partners on the island of La Digue for their high participation in the tourism trade meeting organized last Friday on the island. The meeting is the first to be organized this year is to gain an insight on the happenings in the industry and to hear from the ground itself the challenges, if any, that are affecting the tourism industry on the island and to also get feedback from the individual hotel owners, charter boat operators, and other main actors of the tourism industry on the island. “Voicing out their concerns on pressing issues which they see as challenges to the smooth running of their island`s industry is important for the La Digue tourism trade as it is important for us in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to continue to meet trade partners and with them to map out the tourism policy for La Digue Island," Minister St.Ange said when calling for the meeting on La Digue island.

The tourism business community of La Digue island came out in large numbers to hear the Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture speak and to make their voices heard. During the last tourism trade meeting at La Digue held some months ago, many points were raised, and Minister St.Ange attempted to highlight the progress in the tourism industry since that last meeting. But the gathered members of the industry wanted to see the question of persisting noise disturbances or pollution tabled as well as the inadequate drainage system on the island, petty theft, and the congestion issue at the La Digue jetty. “These concerns were again this year raised by the trade partners on La Digue, and this time they wanted to raise them in the presence on the District Administrator`s representative, the Police of La Digue, a representative of the Department of Transport, and also one from the Department of the Environment," Minister St.Ange said.

Over the last couple of years, the tourism industry on La Digue has grown to a new and important level. New tourism establishments have opened, and as a result, market demand has grown resulting in a higher flow of tourists. The island, although reputed for its high-end establishments and its friendly eco-atmosphere, is finding it a challenge to cope with problems arising from the new developments.

Minister Alain St.Ange was accompanied on La Digue island by Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism; Sherin Naiken, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board; Nathalie Didon, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board; Rosemarie Hoareau, the Director of Marketing at the Tourism Board; and John Stravens, the Chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality & Tourism Association (SHTA).

After the meeting where Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture, had addressed a full house and had answered questions from the floor, he said that in La Digue the same challenges faced by the tourism trade seem to be persisting.

“La Digue keeps having the same problem with its draining system, with noise pollution, with congestion at the jetty, etc. What is interesting to note is the willpower and the determination by the people of La Digue to speak out loud about their challenges. Their willpower to come forward and voice out to the authority their concerns, these challenges, and to also propose solutions they feel are better suited to them and to their island is commendable,” Minister St.Ange said.

The Minister went on to say that tourism is pivotal to the economy of La Digue and that it remains more important today than ever before for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to remain connected with the island`s private-sector partners.

“The people of La Digue expressed ample ideas on how to move the industry forward on the island. As a ministry, it is our duty to take stock of these concerns, it is our duty to come out with comprehensive solutions for the benefit of all partners on the island. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture`s objective is to continue to go down to the community, because it is only by doing so that we are able to understand their aspirations, and it is only by doing so that we can understand their suggestions. The tourism trade meeting was an eye-opener for our ministry, in more ways than one. We`ve committed to continue working with the trade on La Digue to bring forward their concerns and make changes were it is necessary,” Minister St.Ange said.

Minister St.Ange also expressed his satisfaction and his appreciation for the high turnout of tourism trade participants who attended the La Digue tourism trade meeting.

“It is remarkable that for first time we`ve witnessed such a high turnout of people for the trade meeting on La Digue. We did two such meetings last year, and the turnout was nothing compared to what we have seen today. Obviously, this shows that our partners and the tourism trade believe and appreciate the work being done by our ministry,” the Minister said.

The trade meeting at the Patatran Hotel on La Digue was attended by representatives of the police, land transport, and environment departments. Minister St.Ange said that the concerns raised by people of La Digue will be tabled to their respective ministries through the government representatives present.

MEDIA CONTACT: seychellesupdatednews@googlemail.com

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