Tourism Day message |27 September 2019
‘We are Tourism: Our pathway to prosperity’
‘We are Tourism: Our pathway to prosperity’ is the local theme for this year’s World Tourism Day and for this occasion, the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marne Didier Dogley has sent the following message:
“Today (September 27), we commemorate World Tourism Day with this year’s local theme being: ‘We are Tourism: Our pathway to prosperity’. Indeed, this theme gives impetus to celebrate the importance of tourism, not only for the continued growth of our economy, but also for livelihood enrichments of each and every one of us.
“When the first airplane landed in Seychelles in 1971, almost 50 years ago, few realised that the stepping stones to a unique and unparalleled tourism sector was being laid on that day. Today, as the number one pillar of the nation’s economy, the tourism sector contributes 26% directly to GDP and almost 60% indirectly. We therefore stand proud as we say that tourism in Seychelles is a growing and resilient industry. Even towards the end of the last decade when Seychelles faced a number of economic challenges, the average annual growth rate in receipts remained high – proof that tourism in small island states like ours, if managed properly, can result in significant catalyst for wealth creation and poverty eradication.
“The government of Seychelles has always called for the people of Seychelles to take ownership of the industry. Many have heard the call and are now proud owners of tourism enterprises while many others have opted to work in this vibrant tourism industry as employees. Whatever the choice, what is important is that anyone who wishes to and has the ability to do so, is given the opportunity to participate and contribute. Today, as a nation, we have made major progress towards attaining inclusivity.
“In this light, if we are to optimise benefits from this industry and ensure that tourism is to become our pathway to prosperity, we need to ascertain how we can enable this powerful and transformative economic force to lead us down this path. First of all, we need to remain cognizant that the growth of our tourism industry is our ‘passport to development’ and should be safeguarded at all times. We must therefore make every possible effort to ensure that tourism, being the breadwinning tool of our economy remains solid. Along with this, visitors must be made to feel welcome and safe at all times. With all the charisma that we, the people of Seychelles possess, let us strive to foster the appreciation of this vital industry so that the tourism products can continue to do well.
“Along our path, let us forever remain conscious that we depend on this pristine environment. The long-standing national and international commitments to environmental protection and conservation has both directly and indirectly contributed to shaping the marketing image of the archipelago as pure gemstones, shining in the Indian Ocean. The Ministry of Tourism has therefore adopted a series of measures to support the promotion of Seychelles as an eco-tourism destination notably through the Seychelles Sustainability Tourism Label which recognises accommodation establishments implementing sustainable practices. These initiatives came in recognition of the importance of balancing the objectives of economic returns, environmental protection and conservation and socio-cultural integration in Seychelles. I urge hotels today to join the programme and strategise your business as ‘green’; bearing in mind that in this day and age, the discerning visitors are environmentally conscious and that in the long term, green destinations with pristine natural environment and sustainable facilities, will outlast and outperform other destinations.
“As I conclude, allow me to say that the tourism week is the time to step back and appreciate our achievements which we often overlook and at the same time reflect on the future of this important sector. Surely, there are certain grey areas and we stand determine to distill out all the negatives. Already, we have made a step in the right direction with the elaboration of Destination 2023, our tourism strategy which shall guide us along the path to prosperity. There will always be challenges, but these can be overcome should we stick to our credo of “We are tourism” and work collaboratively. After all, the health of the industry depends on me, you and every one of us.”