The Seychelles Tourism Festival 2019 came to an end on World Tourism Day, Friday September 27, 2019 after an eventful week of celebrating and promoting the importance of tourism in Seychelles.
This year’s festival was centered on the theme ‘We Are Tourism: Our Pathway to Prosperity’ and focused on raising awareness of the role and significance of tourism in our country.
The second edition of the festival was officially launched by Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Didier Dogley, at the annual Tourism Ball, organized by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) and the Tourism Festival Committee, at Constance Ephelia on Saturday September 21, 2019.
The theme for this year’s ball was ‘Under the Sea,’ which was reflected in the decorations made of recycled materials.
In attendance were tourism partners and stakeholders who united to celebrate the tourism industry. Minister Miriam Thelemaque, Minister of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status and Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Minister of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning also attended the event.
Minister Dogley and Mrs. Sybille Cardon, Chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, placed great emphasis on the significance of sustainability in their speeches, noting that it is crucial for the survival of the tourism industry.
The evening saw performances from Aaron Jean, who performed a song composed for the occasion by Jean Marc Volcy, and Joe Samy who performed his song ‘Oceans and Visions.’
The Tourism Ball was followed by the Food Fiesta the next day, which took place at Beau Vallon on Mahe and Cote D’Or on Praslin. The event featured the waiter’s race, in which waiters and waitresses from different hotel establishments as well as students from the Seychelles Tourism Academy participated.
The food fiesta gave the Seychellois public exposure to the culinary experience that tourists have access to during their stay in the Seychelles.
On Monday 23, 2019, seven tourism pioneers of the tourism industry were recognized in a ceremony at the Seychelles Tourism Academy. Andiana Hoareau nee Sandapin, Brendon Grimshaw, Achille Kwame Luc, Philipe L’Efevre Karl St. Ange, Philibert Loizeau, Mathew Servina were each honored with a plaque in the Tourism Pioneers Park.
The youth played a significant role in this year’s tourism festival, participating in both the ‘Adopt a Student’ forum on Tuesday 24, 2019 and the French Public speaking competition on Thursday 26, 2019.
Concretizing what Minister Dogley expressed in his speech at the launching ceremony regarding the importance of educating the youth on what the tourism industry entails at an early age instead of waiting for them to specialize.
For the ‘Adopt a Student’ forum, primary and secondary students selected by the Ministry of Education for a brief internship in several hotels came to share their experiences with their peers.
This exposure gave students a better idea what a career in tourism entails, therefore encouraging more students to choose this path. The program generated positive feedback from both the students and the hotels, who appreciated the initiative by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Education.
The participating schools and hotels were Takamaka Primary attached with DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles Allamanda Resort & Spa; Bel Ombre Primary with Savoy Seychelles Resorts & Spa; Beau Vallon Secondary also with Savoy and Hilton Seychelles Labriz; English River Secondary with Hilton Seychelles Northolme; Anse Boileau Secondary with Constance Ephelia Seychelles and Avani Hotels & Resorts; and Grand Anse Primary with Constance Lemuria Seychelles and Hotel L’Archipel. The Human Resource officers from the hotels were also present to share their experience with the students.
Another activity involving the youth was the ‘Concours d’expression orale,’ organized by STB in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. This was a French public speaking activity involving schools in Seychelles at primary, secondary and post-secondary level. The discussions were based off the world tourism day theme “Le Tourisme et l’emploi: Un avenir meilleur pour tous,” and students seized the opportunity to showcase their fluency in French, one of our official languages which is often overlooked and less popular. Minister Jeanne Simeon, Minister of Education and Human Resource Development was also present at the event.
The winner for the Primary school group was Baie Sainte Anne Praslin, with Mont Fleuri in second place and Glacis in third place. For the Secondary group, Pointe Larue landed first place, followed by Plaisance in second place and Anse Royale in third place. At Post-secondary level, SITE won first place, whilst STA came out second.
Aside from the youth, employees in the tourism sector also had activities of their own during the week of festivities.
A tourism mass was held on Wednesday September 25, 2019 at Plaisance Church, attended by staff from the Seychelles Tourism Board, the Department of Tourism and Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority with the participation of the Seychelles Tourism Academy students and staff.
The service was followed by a beach clean-up with employees of STB, Department of Tourism contributing to the Clean up the World campaign. This campaign is one which crucial to the tourism industry, as it supports the conservation of the Seychelles pristine beauty.
On World Tourism Day itself, Friday September 27, 2019, the STB partnered with Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority and Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation for a special “Meet and Greet” at the Seychelles International Airport.
Arriving visitors were greeted by a live band and traditional dances were performed. Many engaged with the performance; joining in to dance or capturing the moment with ‘That Selfie Mirror Seychelles.’ Tourists were also given the ‘Pristine Seychelles’ badge along with a bookmark that included small tips on how to be a responsible traveler whilst exploring the islands.
Departing visitors were given the chance to share their experiences in the Seychelles and what their contributions to sustainability were or could be, which was documented by the SSTF team.
Due to weather, the scheduled Meet and Greet at the Botanical garden was cancelled. However, the staff of the Seychelles Tourism Board and Department of Tourism united for a brief gathering honoring Tourism Day, where STB Chief Executive, Mrs. Sherin Francis and Principal Secretary Mrs. Anne Lafortune shared a few words with the employees.
The Tourism Festival came to a close at Hilton Northolme Resort and Spa, during a panel discussion of the festival theme “Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all.”