As the world marks Tourism Day it is important for us in Seychelles to say “Happy Tourism Day” to each and every one, but to also say let us all rally to defend, protect and help consolidate this industry that remains the powerful vehicle to not only stimulate the economic growth of our countries, but that also remains the motor for social growth in the world at large. 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