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Opening address by Jean-Paul Adam, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the Indian Ocean Rim Association ministerial meeting on tourism, Savoy Resort, Beau Vallon, 21st November 2014

22.11.2014

 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

 

In Seychelles, we consider tourism to be part of our way of life.

 

Thus as we host this meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Tourism Ministers, we are proud to welcome you to Seychelles, and to share in our way of life.

To share with us an appreciation of what makes each of our individual countries special, and which makes our region special- and to share ideas on how we can translate this into regional policies that will further accelerate wealth creation across our ocean.

On behalf of President James Michel and the people and government of Seychelles, I convey to you all our appreciation for your engagement- and for saying that this way of life matters.

Around the world, governments have recognised that tourism is one of the major drivers of global growth.  Too often however it is treated as a tributary of other industries, rather than the engine of growth that it could and should be.

Tourism strategies have more than ever a wider bearing on macro-economic benefits.

The right tourism strategy can translate into exponential growth that overflows into many other sectors.

In a Small Island Developing State such as Seychelles- the link between tourism and our macro-economic stability could not be more visible.  In Seychelles every fisherman, every taxi driver, every student in our schools knows that tourism is our bread and butter.

And we also know how fragile it can be.

 

Tourism also depends on partnerships and making connections.  There is no such thing as a successful tourism industry being built in isolation.

In our Indian Ocean region, and through our only pan Indian Ocean organisation, IORA, we have a unique opportunity to build on our respective strengths, and create synergies that can improve our resilience while also creating new and innovative products and experiences.

So we are meeting in Seychelles because we believe that with the right strategy, tourism can bring so much more to our region.  Bring so much more to our respective countries.  That it can add even more to our way of life.

Traditionally, advanced economies have commanded the lion’s share of tourist arrivals; However, there has been a change in the last three decades with emerging economies closing the gap from 30% in 1980 to 47% in 2013. The UNWTO long term forecast, 'Tourism Towards 2030', predicts that the share of tourism amongst emerging economies will reach 57%. This equates to approximately 1 billion international tourist arrivals out of 1.8 billion projected international arrivals by 2030.

With such progress and expansion, tourism has become one of the leading sectors of the global economy – representing 9% of the world´s GDP, generating 1 in every 11 jobs and accounting for 6% of the total exports in the world. Here in Seychelles, Tourism accounts for over 34% of employment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our region is exciting both in terms of the strong emergence of our tourism markets- but also because of the strong emergence of tourism travellers within our region.

We can use this opportunity to better connect our industries and better connect our markets.

Our region is also exciting as offering a vast array of untapped and unique eco-tourism experiences.  We clearly have an opportunity to build a strong regional eco-tourism opportunity.

We also clearly must anchor our tourism efforts within sustainable practices throughout our region that enhance the experience of tourism both for the traveller and the host country.

Let us also build on existing partnerships in our region.  The islands of the South West Indian Ocean have sought to enhance what we can offer together through the 'Vanilla Islands' concept for example.  And our wider grouping of states that share the Indian Ocean can further tap into numerous opportunities.

Cruise tourism is one area that can be further enhanced to bring benefits to many of our countries in a more systematic way.

But we must also be aiming to enhance our air and sea connectivity to be able to build these durable partnerships.

For too many countries of our region, air access remains a challenge to building up their tourism industries.  In this era of global processes- the need for us to better coordinate transport policies and tourism policies could not be more important.

Excellences, Mesdames et messieurs,

Le tourisme est aussi une industrie du multilinguisme.  Aux Seychelles nous sommes fiers de notre trilinguisme a travers notre Créole, l'anglais et le français.  La diversité culturelle de notre région représente un atout pour le développement du tourisme, et nous le célébrons avec vous.

Il est clair aussi que pour le développement du tourisme de notre région- les belles paroles ne suffisent pas.  Il est important de renforcer nos capacités d'entraide et le partage d'opportunités.  C'est avec grand plaisir alors qu’Air Seychelles démarre le moi prochain, trois vols sur des destinations de l'IORA- Mumbai, Dar Es Salaam et Antananarivo.  Nous estimons que cette nouvelle desserte de notre région va contribuer a  l'accroissement du tourisme interrégional et bâtir une industrie plus forte, et plus étendue sur notre région.

Excellencies, ladies and gentleman,

Seychelles is committed to a shared effort to bring about shared gains.

We believe everyone can bring something to the table.

Whether you are an established destination or an emerging niche market- we believe you offer something invaluable.

In the IORA region we have some of the best known icons of the world, from the Taj Mahal to Table Mountain- but we also have many more undiscovered wonders.

In this meeting we believe we can bring together strategies that will shine new light on how we can all grow together.

We look forward to building an even better and more prosperous way of life, with all of you.

I thank you for your attention.

 

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