New UNWTO Secretary General, Alain St. Ange? The interview

AlaoinNewAfter the publication of the article (to discover here) where we stated possible competitors for the succession of Taleb Rifaï at the post of General Secretary of the World Tourism Organization- UNWTO, we had Alain St Ange’s quoted in the article.

Minister, according to some publications you are a possible successor to Taleb Rifaï at the end of his term of office in 2017. Could you give us your comments on this?

It’s a real surprise to be on a list of possible successors to Taleb Rifai after 2017. I feel honored.

It is true that several people have already talked to me about this possibility but it remains the choice of the UNWTO member countries.

At the moment, I am the Minister of Tourism and Culture for the Republic of Seychelles. I have a commitment to, and responsibility for, my country.

Having said that, this article has made me realize that I may also have a responsibility to the tourist industry as a whole. An industry which can help bring peace and prosperity to the world community.

What do you think are the required qualities in a good Secretary-General?

Following on from Taleb Rifaï is a challenge! It requires someone who can unify people, to help countries to work together for the common cause.

With respect to that, and bearing in mind the level of representation embodied in the post of Secretary-General, they also need to have been a Minister of Tourism. Because that post gives them the experience of representing a country and its people at an international level, and also a knowledge of the sector. Above all, they must have a good image and have contributed in a positive way to their country.

If you were elected what would be your first actions?

In order to be elected you have to be a candidate.

Even though I am proud to have been mentioned, my current priority is the Seychelles, where we are in the middle of an election campaign and where I am doing my best to be a good Minister of Tourism.

Whatever happens, the next Secretary-General will have to build on and consolidate the work done by Taleb Rifaï.

I’m specifically thinking about the WTTC and relationships with the private sector, but also PATA, ICAO, UNESCO and lots of other organizations.

Nowadays, although security has to be one of our main concerns, we also have to remember the rules of sustainable development.

We know that you are a fervent supporter of sustainable development and cooperation between countries. Will that remain important to you at the UNWTO?

It is obvious that the next Secretary-General will have to be a sponsor of sustainable development.

In the Seychelles we were already doing it, long before it became a buzzword.

At all events, I believe that candidates from countries that are not involved in sustainable development will be eliminated from the race to become Secretary-General.

A member state’s reputation must also be one of the criteria in the choice of a successor to Taleb Rifaï in 2017. It must be worthy of the position and not upset the citizens of other member countries.