The first Ministerial Conference on Tourism and Air Transport in Africa was held in Santa Maria, Sal Island in Cabo Verde, from the March 27 to 29, 2019.
The aim of the conference was to find a balance in maximizing the overall benefits of tourism and air transport in the national economy and to identify the best national aviation institutional frameworks and practices that facilitate and promote tourism.
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The conference was attended by various high government officials on behalf of the participating countries and saw the presence of the African Union Commissioner responsible for aviation.
Several technical specialists’ representatives from the aviation and tourism sectors and experts from international and regional organisations were also present.
Seychelles was represented by a delegation from the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine and the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority led by Minister Didier Dogley and included Principal Secretary for Tourism Mrs. Anne Lafortune and Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Alan Renaud.
Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Alan Renaud represented Seychelles as a panelist during the first technical session on air transport and tourism policies on March 27, 2019.
During his intervention, PS. Renaud presented the country’s experience in relation to the topic and focused on the positive impacts that the liberation of the local air space has had on the tourism arrival figures.
He also pointed out the benefits of a free and visa upon arrival system as one having greatly facilitated the experience of travelers arriving in Seychelles.
Seychelles was also represented in Cabo Verde through Minister Didier Dogley, who sat on the ministerial panel on March 28, 2019.
Speaking during the session the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine reinforced the points made by Principal Secretary Renaud and further elaborated on the benefits of having in place a set of comprehensive and structured air access policies and a strong institutional framework. He commented on Seychelles as one of the few countries in Africa, where the aviation and tourism departments fall under the same ministry, which greatly enable and facilitate coordination between key authorities and staff.
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Minister Dogley also highlighted the importance of direct air access for Small Island Developing states. He explained the dependency of small island nations as Seychelles on an adequate network of airlines serving the country due to their isolation from their tourism markets and trade partners.
In regards to a single African air transport market, he reminded the audience of the need for those responsible for developing regional agreements to take into consideration the special needs of SIDS.
On the sidelines of the conference, Minister Dogley also held talks with the President of the ICAO council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, Secretary General of UNWTO, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili and other African aviation and tourism ministers attending the meeting.