A tourism body within AU Commission proposed

Posted: June 27, 2013 in travel & tourism

Seychelles has formally moved for the establishment of a tourism body within the African Union (AU) against the backdrop of the growing impact of the sector on economies around the world.

Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of African Union Commission, said that the organization is prepared to consider a proposal by the Seychelles for a tourism body within the African Union Commission which could also push for an African Heritage Site label for the African cultural sites which are bidding for recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

Tourism counts for a major part of the African economies. Tourism unifies people, culture, and heritage. The Seychelles has been a leading force to bring Africa together through tourism, starting with the diplomacy of the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism; the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization, for which the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, was recently re-elected for a second term as the President of the organization; and the Carnaval International de Victoria.

Zuma’s statement came during a courtesy call, as part of her official mission in the Seychelles, on Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, at his office at the National Cultural Center in Victoria. Present for the meeting on the Seychelles side were Ms. Benjamine Rose, the Principal Secretary for Culture, and Mr. Marcel Rosalie, the Director General for Culture.

“We as Africans, we should be in a position to support the protection of our own heritage sites. We all know that we need to protect what is dear to our respective populations. We should recognize and protect these sites that we have, and these sites that we are proud of,” said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was responding to an appeal by Minister St.Ange of the Seychelles on Africa working with Africa in recognizing Africa’s heritage sites. “We all go through the lengthy procedures for UNESCO’s recognition of sites we are committed to protect for generations to come. The time has come to work together to give recognition to sites we see are dear to us, to our people, and to our country,” the Seychelles Minister said.

Mr Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, was talking about the Slave ruins at the Seychelles Mission Lodge of Sans Soucis on the main island of Mahe itself, a site that he said needed to be saved for future generations, because it was a facility with history for young African slaves, coming from all over Africa, who landed in Seychelles by British ships at the time that slavery was being abolished.

“These ruins, we remain determined to protect, and as we wait for recognition for our site to be a World Heritage site by UNESCO, we can have an African Union Heritage Site label and have it listed as an attraction in Seychelles that is recognized by Africa,” Minister St.Ange said.

Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of African Union Commission, has also accepted to invite interested Ministers of Tourism from Africa for a meeting with the aim of having a tourism body within the African Union. When he was proposing the concept to Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles said: “Tourism remains the one industry that can unite Africa, because most African countries are developing their very own tourism industry, or are interested by this industry.

“Tourism is the industry that can have a positive effect on the economy of all our countries, and in so doing benefit the people from our respective countries. Africa must learn to know Africa and must work with Africa, if Africa is to become strong,” Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles said.

In reacting to the Seychelles Minister’s proposal, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said that she is “a great believer of tourism and especially African tourism” and that “integration will be much better if we know more about our continent.”

Dr. Dlamini Zuma said that the African Union Commission will be taking the lead in bringing together interested Ministers of Tourism from Africa with the aim of setting up a tourism body. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma proposed to Minister St.Ange the formulation of a plan of practical actions to promote tourism in Africa which will be submitted at a brainstorming session of Ministers at the African Union Commission.

Minister Alain St.Ange also took the opportunity of his meeting with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of the African Union Commission to speak about the support received by Seychelles from African Union Members of South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and Mauritius for the annual Carnaval International de Victoria that is staged in Seychelles and of the support of South Africa, Kenya, and Mauritius for the Africa Day, FetAfrik celebrations, in Seychelles.

Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).

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