"The Seychelles’ tourism industry has always succeeded because of the blue economy. It is very clear that without our turquoise blue sea that is clear and clean, the sandy beaches that remains white and clean we would not have the tourism industry".
This statement was made by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Alain St.Ange at the launch of the first Seychelles Ocean Festival last Friday.
Held at The Wharf Hotel and Marina, the event was attended by the Vice-President of the Republic Vincent Meriton, principal secretaries, chief executives and other high government officials.
Also gracing the ceremony was the chief executive of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Mario Hardy and Emre Kanik, the winner of the Global Travel Entrepreneurship Challenge competition launched by PATA in partnership with http://Triip.me">Triip.me and supported by Gobi Partners, FWD Hong Kong and the Seychelles Tourism Board.
Minister St.Ange said the launch of this festival shows that this concept of Seychelles moving from just the Sub Indian Ocean Seychelles (Subios) festival of the sea, is today readapting itself to become the centre where government is incorporating what we call the blue economy into the tourism industry for Seychelles,”
“When the appeal was made by former President James Michel for us to bring the blue economy at the forefront of our tourism industry, we made the move to change Subios into what is known today as the Seychelles Ocean Festival.
“The ocean that encompasses so much of our unique selling points. So as we embark on this new journey, we also recognise at the same time that this is last event being organised by the Tourism Board. Today, as the government is trying to bring together all the strength of the country, it has created the Creative Industries and National Events Agency, the body that will organise events previously done by our Tourism Board.
Minister St.Ange thanked the Tourism Board for all the hard work to move Seychelles into the world of events, and called on the team to keep marketing the events as CINEA moves forward.
To all those who have worked hard to position this new Seychelles Ocean Festival, we must ask ourselves why this one specifically for the ocean, highlighting the importance of the blue economy, he added.
"Seychelles is proactive. Seychelles moves. Seychelles does not stand still. If we start standing still we will fast realise that the world will leave us on the sidelines."
"Hence, this is why the blue economy concept gets us to realise the importance of our industries involving the sea – cruise ship, fishing both commercial and domestic, sailing, diving, snorkeling, boating, island hopping, and others," he said.
"It is important for us to protect the sea, and to understand it to a point that we all join forces and that we do not take it for granted."
Speaking at the launch, the Tourism Board's chief executive Sherin Francis said Subios has been on the scene since 1990 and has fulfilled a vital role in sensitising visitors and Seychellois alike about our magnificent ocean.
"Seychelles has evolved since then and many other exciting marine sectors have entered onto the scene, making Seychelles a renowned destination for sailing, cruising, diving, snorkeling, sports fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, kite and wind surfing," she added.
The Seychelles Ocean Festival looks to set a foundation for an event that will be a representative of all aspects of our blue economy and which will hopefully create a partnership between many organisations responsible for advocating our world's beneath the waves, she said.
During the launch, those who took part in the Seychelles Ocean Festival's photo competition received their prizes. The new website for the festival was also launched by the Tourism Board.