The Mauritius Tourism Promotional Authority (MTPA) has made the move to put an end to the claim of the “copy cat” action of the annual carnival in the Seychelles, which was co-hosted in March this year by the Vanilla Islands of the Seychelles and La Reunion.
Robert Desvaux, the Chairman of the MTPA, was in Seychelles on a working visit, and he met the Seychelles press at the Ephelia Resort to clear up the situation that had made news the world over.
Robert Desvaux explained, “That there was a misunderstanding as to what Mauritius was announcing and about the real intention of Mauritius.” The Chairman of the MTPA explained that Mauritius was organizing a “Shopping Fiesta” from June 29 to August 5, and that as part of the Fiesta, a sailing regatta and the carnival of Flic en Flac will be taking place among many other activities.
In front of Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, and Pascal Viroleau, the Head of the IIle Reunion Tourisme (IRT) of La Reunion, and Elsia Grandcourt, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), Robert Desvaux said that it was important to take note that it was now agreed that “it was Seychelles who will continue to stage a carnival as the event of the Vanilla Islands.”
The Seychelles Minister St.Ange said when he took the floor that before the press conference called by the MTPA he had personally chaired a meeting at the MAIA Resort with Robert Desvaux (Mauritius), Pascal Viroleau (La Reunion), and Elsia Grandcourt (Seychelles) where it was agreed that it was time to review the priorities of the Vanilla Islands grouping and to take new decisions to ensure that the grouping of islands could make new headway.
“We are many to fly the Vanilla Islands flag. It is now time to consolidate the working partenariat and ensure we all remain united. The spirit of the Vanilla Islands remains very much alive, and we now need to consolidate it,” Minister St.Ange said as he confirmed that the meeting between Seychelles, Mauritius, and La Reunion, which took place at the MAIA Resort, had reached agreement on different important decisions.
“For example we agree that we shall all promote four Vanilla Islands events as part of our Region’s Calendar of Events, namely the Shopping Fiesta of Mauritius (June 29 to August 5), the Carnaval International de Victoria staged in Seychelles (February 8-10), the International Tourism Fair of Madagascar (May 31 to June 3), and the Liberté des Métisses et Food Festival of La Réunion (December 17-20), which commemorates the Abolition of Slavery. The door remains open for Comoros and Mayotte to also move to propose an event of their choice to appear of the Vanilla Islands Calendar of Events,” Minister St.Ange of Seychelles said.
It has also been agreed that Tourism Ministers from the Vanilla Islands with the Chairperson CEO of their Tourism Boards will meet in July in Seychelles at the same time as the Routes Africa 2012 Forum, the ICTP (International Council of Tourism Partners) General Assembly, and the RETOSA Board Meeting will also all be taking place Seychelles. It was resolved that the Vanilla Islands Seychelles Meeting was needed to move the Indian Ocean Islands Association forward. “The time has arrived for the Vanilla Islands to have its own Chief Executive Officer to manage the organization from a Head Office in La Reunion. The responsibilities of the Vanilla Islands Secretariat will be to look after the good running of the organization and to move forward joint promotional actions and plans. This will be a point on the agenda at the Vanilla Islands July Meeting,” the Seychelles Minister said.
For the financing of the Vanilla Islands Head Office and Secretariat, Minister St.Ange explained that the grouping of islands will be appealing to the European Union for an adequate budget. On this issue, Pascal Viroleau said that the first mission of the Vanilla Islands members was to agree on their different projects that will enhance and showcase Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte, and La Reunion and to then lodge that with the European Union. Mr. Viroleau of La Reunion said that “at the start there were four of us who pushed the idea of the Vanilla Islands. Many people did not believe that the grouping of islands would go far, but we have made progress. We have shown that we could all work together. We are all six mid-ocean islands and remain united in our drive to make our region more visible and more known.”