Today we celebrate a milestone for Seychelles. Our islands are noticed around the world, and for such accomplishment we need to thank our private sector trade, our hotels, our DMCs and our airlines for promoting Seychelles as a tourist destination.
Seychelles will soon welcome two new airlines, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airline which will bring more tourists to our paradise islands. Seychelles is now connected to the big wide world as never before and with its tourism industry remaining the pillar of its economy. We want to see Seychelles tourism bloom and to do that we will work with our National Airline, Air Seychelles along with all the other airlines partners.
We are today proud to say that we have protected what we have ben blessed with – the lush green natural landscape of our islands, our white sandy beach and our turquoise blue seas. We can be seen as good custodians of what we have and we have gone the extra mile and have now declared over 50% of the total land area of Seychelles as protected national parks. But that is just not enough because we know that our tourism industry would be on shaky ground if we did not put our culture at the centre of our tourism industry and by doing that placing our people at the very centre of our development, because without people we have no culture. This is why on this World Tourism Day, as we all celebrate the milestones achieved in our industry we need to say to ourselves that our people remain our greatest asset and we all need to embrace them in their diversity.
May Tourism Day 2016 be for the great continent of Africa a time of reflection on the protection and preservation of our rich natural heritage and this inclusive of our people in its diversity in political affiliation, colour of the skin, religious beliefs and sexual preferences. May Tourism Day 2016 also be for the World at large a time for reflection where the ambitions of one does not step on the rights of others needing tourism as a source of economic survival.
Alain St.Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Republic of Seychelles
Alain St.Ange – Biography
Few people are as passionate, accomplished and respected in their field as Alain St.Ange, Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture. Since taking office in 2012, and with his prior roles as Director of Marketing and later CEO for the island’s tourism board, St.Ange has been responsible for increasing Seychelles’ visibility in the global travel and tourism industry. He is a firm believer in the promotion of Seychellois culture as a central tenet of the country’s tourism growth and development.
Born on 24 October 1954 on the island of La Digue, St.Ange spent much of his youth on his family’s agricultural estate, primarily dedicated to vanilla and coconut plantations, before pursuing his formal education at the Seychelles College in Mahé. He later continued his studies in Hotel Management in Germany and Tourism in France. Afterwards, St.Ange held several positions in the hospitality field throughout Seychelles, the Channel Islands and Australia, eventually managing key properties in Seychelles and ending his resort management days with the Denis Private Island. In addition to his extensive experience in the hospitality industry, St.Ange’s upbringing led him into politics as his father, Karl St.Ange, was an influential political figure during the early years of Seychelles independence.
In 1979, St.Ange was elected as a Member of the People’s Assembly for the La Digue Constituency for the Seychelles People’s Progressive Front, and in 2002, a Member of the National Assembly for the Bel Air Constituency for the Seychelles National Party. Following that, he was appointed as the Seychelles Director of Marketing in 2009, and in 2010, promoted to CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board. In 2012, St.Ange was elected as the first President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organisation, an affiliation comprised of island nations within the Indian Ocean, aimed at forming a new tourism destination brand. That same year, he was also named by Seychelles President, James Michel, as the Minister of Tourism and Culture. In 2013, St.Ange was elected to the Board of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Executive Council.
As part of his service to Seychelles tourism, St.Ange has worked endlessly to establish the tropical island as one of the world’s most attractive and visible travel destinations. In 2015, Seychelles hosted the World Travel Awards and the Africa & Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony, welcoming industry leaders and celebrating cultures from across the region. By the end of year, Seychelles recorded nearly 275,000 annual visitors, establishing a 19% increase over 2014 figures and setting a new record for Seychelles. Similarly, as a direct result of St.Ange’s close work with the Seychelles Tourism Board, the country has seen a significant increase in capital investments from resorts, hotels and destination management companies.
With a major focus on championing the world’s diverse cultures and peoples, St.Ange created the Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria in 2011, which has come to be known as ‘The Carnival of Carnivals’. Now in its sixth year, the annual, three-day event, held every April in the capital of Victoria, invites the countries of the world to showcase themselves and celebrate their unique cultures side by side through fun, carnival floats and festivities. The event continues to attract visitors and widespread publicity to Seychelles every year.
Since taking office as the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture, St.Ange has received numerous awards and honours, including the Mahatma Gandhi Honour Award (2014) for his work in strengthening Indo-Seychelles relations, a Plaque of Honour from the House of Lords in London (2015), and most recently, the Tourism Eminent Achiever Award in Africa (2015). He has also authored and co-authored several books about Seychelles, including:
Seychelles, What Next? (1991); Seychelles, In Search of Democracy (2005); Seychelles, The Cry of a People (2007); Seychelles, Regatta 2010 (2010); Seychelles, Enters The World of Canival (2011); Seychelles, Remembers Karl St.Ange (2011); Seychelles, The Coco-de-Mer (2012); Seychelles, Festival of the Sea (2012); Seychelles, State House (2013) and Seychelles: Unexpected Treasures (2014).
While carrying on his efforts to improve tourism in Seychelles, St.Ange remains an in demand speaker and collaborator at worldwide industry events and conferences. “There is still a lot for us to do for our tourism industry, for the Indian Ocean, for tourism in Africa and for safeguarding tourism as the industry that continues to make a difference in the lives of millions across the world”, he said.
St.Ange is married to Ginette Michel of Les Mamelles, Mahé and has two daughters, Christine and Michelle.