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Strengthening cooperation between two Indian Ocean islands - upcoming posting of a Seychelles tourism representative in Reunion

Seychelles and Reunion | April 18, 2015, Saturday @ 13:52 in Business » TOURISM | By: Séverine Martin and Sharon Uranie | Views: 2852
Strengthening cooperation between two Indian Ocean islands - upcoming posting of a Seychelles tourism representative in Reunion

A tourism establishment in Reunion island. Seychelles and Reunion have signed an MoU that will enable the two countries to consolidate existing working partnerships as well as develop new avenues of cooperation in the field of tourism. (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles will be appointing a permanent representative to be based in the tourism office of Reunion Island in the coming months in a bid to strengthen cooperation between the two Indian Ocean islands, mainly in the tourism field.

The Seychelles Tourism Board is hoping the necessary formalities will be completed within the next three months so that the chosen individual can take up the post around June this year.

The need for a permanent presence in Reunion

"It's important for Seychelles to cement ties with Reunion, especially in the field of tourism but also in the field of culture. We also want to strengthen our existing cooperation," STB’s Chief executive Sherin Naiken told SNA, in an interview on Thursday.

"There is a person from Reunion Island who is based at the Seychelles tourist office and whose mission is to represent her country. It is in the same spirit that we want to have one of our STB representatives in Reunion."

The planned posting of a permanent representative in Reunion follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two sides.

The agreement was signed during the recent visit of a Seychelles tourism delegation to Reunion Island.

Strengthening the partnership between the Seychelles and Reunion

According to a press statement issued by the STB, the MoU will enable the two countries to consolidate existing working partnerships as well as develop new avenues of cooperation in the field of tourism.

It is aiming for the establishment of a win-win partnership in terms of visibility for the two islands through various packages offered to tourists.

In this context, the Seychelles representative in Reunion will also work to promote the cruise line industry and promote the ‘Seychelles Secrets’ brand among others.

"The STB representative will also be tasked with strengthening our relationship with the press and work with travel agencies or travel agents. Additionally, they shall also endeavour to establish new tourism partnerships and provide continuous knowledge about Seychelles as a tourist destination," said Naiken.

The MoU was signed by Patrick Serveaux, who heads Reunion island's tourism office and the CEO of STBSherin Naiken, in the presence of Alain Saint-Ange, the Minister for Tourism and Culture and Lionel Majesté Larrouy, the French ambassador to Seychelles. (STB) Photo License: CC-BY 

A significant increase in the number of tourists from Reunion

Since the beginning of 2015, there’s been an increasing number of visitors from Reunion Island to the Seychelles archipelago.

According to latest figures from the Seychelles National Bureau of Seychelles (NBS), 1,732 tourists from Reunion have visited Seychelles from January 1, 2015 up to April 12, compared to 467 visitors who visited the archipelago during the same reference period in 2014.

This represents an increase of 271 percent in 2014 and a 33 percent increase when compared to the same period in 2013 when 1,298 visitors from Reunion disembarked at the Seychelles International airport.

Obviously, the resumption of direct flights by Air Austral has also contributed to this significant increase.

Air Austral, the French airline mainly active in the southwest Indian Ocean, halted its flights to the Seychelles in May 2013, citing a lack of profitability.

It was in the context of a partnership signed with the Seychelles national airline, Air Seychelles, that Air Austral resumed twice weekly flights between the Seychelles main island of Mahé and Reunion’s capital of St Denis, in June last year.

According to the STB, the recent visit to Reunion was an opportunity for them to see that there is a real interest in Seychelles as a destination, hence the need to have a continuous presence there to advise potential visitors.

A further step to strengthening regional cooperation

The MoU represents another step in strengthening regional cooperation.

It adds to the Vanilla Islands concept launched in 2010 and which brings together the Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte and the Maldives.

Based on complementarity and diversity of each island nation, the Vanilla Islands concept aims to revitalize tourism marketing for the islands in the Indian Ocean by working together under a common brand hence offering tourists the opportunity to experience more destinations combined in a single trip.

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Tags: Reunion island, STB, Sherin Naiken, Air Austral, tourism, Vanilla Islands

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