Seychelles tourism minister honoured in India
The award presented to Minister Alain St Ange (Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles’ Tourism Minister Alain St Ange has been honoured in India for his efforts in strengthening the Indo-Seychelles relations.
St Ange, who is currently leading a Seychelles delegation in India, has received the Mahatma Gandhi Samman Award.
In a press statement issued today, the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture states that St.Ange said he was honoured by the gesture adding that he accepts it on behalf of his ministry and the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB).
"Today you have shown that when we work hard, our work is recognised well beyond our own borders," said St Ange when he accepted the award.
Seychelles and India have had diplomatic ties since 1976.
In recent years, there has been high-level exchange visits between officials from the two countries.
There’s also been efforts to recognise India as one of the Seychellois people’s key origin which saw the birth of the first edition of the Seychelles-India Day in October last year with the participation of Top Indian chefs and artists.
The event spearheaded by the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture with the help of the archipelago’s Indian High Commission and Indian business community now features on the calendar of events in Seychelles.
The second Seychelles India Day is set to take place between October 03-05 this year.
The visit of the tourism delegation to India this week led by Minister St Ange and which also includes the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Aviation Authority, Gilbert Faure and representatives of the business community led by the Chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Marco Francis is geared towards positioning Seychelles as a holiday destination amongst Indian tourists.
While Europe remains the main market for Seychelles, the Seychelles Tourism Board has been increasingly tapping into the Asian market in a bid to diversify the island’s tourism markets to minimize the impact when one suffers.
China is one market which has seen quite an impressive increase since the beginning of this year as a result of this drive.
According to the island nation’s Bureau of Statistics China is currently in 5th position in terms of visitor arrivals.
Visitor arrivals as at week ending August 3, 2014.
Country No. of visitors
United Arab Emirates 7,732
When it comes to India though the number of arrivals is much lower.
Based on statistics on the NBS website, 1,305 visitors from India have come to Seychelles in the first six months of 2014.
The current marketing drive to try and raise this number has seen the Seychelles delegation in India holding a series of business meetings with government officials as well as tour operators.
According to the Seychelles Tourism Board, in an interview with the Times of India, St.Ange explained that it’s the lack of direct air access that has resulted in the number of Indian tourists being low, but expressed confidence that there would be a turnaround in the near future.
“This is set to improve considerably in the coming months and years because of the announcement by Air Seychelles of its intention to launch a non-stop direct service between Seychelles and India,” he said.