Dr. Mario Hardy, the CEO of PATA is in the Seychelles as Guest of Honour for the island's first edition of its Ocean Festival. On Saturday morning the 3rd December Dr Hardy and Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine met at the Ministry's ESPACE Offices in Victoria and together they explored cooperation possibilities.
The Seychelles Ocean Festival is replacing the former SUBIOS Festival that concentrated primarily on the underwater life of Seychelles wheres the new Ocean Festival embraces the island's Blue Economy and everything that touches the turquoise blue seas of the Seychelles archipelago. Dr Hardy and Minister St.Ange first opened discussions on cooperation when the Seychelles Minister was invited the address PATA's 2016 General Assembly that was held in the US Island of Guam earlier this year. "In the US island of Guam, accompanied by Glynn Burridge of our Tourism Board we discussed Seychelles in the PATA grouping. We were invited to also join Dr Mario Hardy at a 4am gathering to welcome the Pacific Islanders for over twenty islands as they arrived in Guam by sea for what is their FESPAC Celebrations.
At a first one-to-one meeting between Dr Hardy and Minister St.Ange a number of points were discussed that touched tourism at large and the invitation for Seychelles to become a member of PATA. The Seychelles Minister also tabled the point that through PATA Seychelles be positioned as the bridge between Africa and Asia.
In the follow-up meeting later the same morning Minister St.Ange was joined by Sherin Naiken, the CEO of the Tourism Board and Garry Albert, the PS for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine to further discussions between PATA and Seychelles tourism. Together many of the benefits for Seychelles joining PATA were discussed. This included the access for distribution of press releases through the PATA press list and the participation by Seychelles at forums, trade events and meetings organised by PATA. The meeting also touched on opening doors for discussions for Seychelles on direct non-stop air access to an Asia Hub.
PATA is part of the trio of tourism bodies sitting alongside the UNWTO that regroups Governments, the WTTC that regroups the Tourism private sector. PATA is the bridge between the the UNWTO and WTTC as their membership brings both public and private sector together. Dr Hardy is in Seychelles accompanied by his wife and this is their first visit to the islands.