Progress remains slow for Indian Ocean tourism cooperation
With the number of travellers enjoying Indian Ocean holidays increasing over recent years, island nations of the Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion and Comoros, could stand united and lead the destination into the top spot, but it seems cooperation is slow.
Despite providing equally luxury Indian Ocean holidays for travellers, the islands of Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles and Comoros are struggling to join forces and help lead the travel destination on a united front.
Over recent years, the islands have each launched marketing initiatives at the same time or close to each other, causing irritation.
On 15th December in 2006, the Seychelles launched its new tourism logo "The Seychelles islands – another world". Five days later on 20th December, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) also launched their new tourism slogan, "Mauritius, a world apart from the world".
The clash of tourism slogans sparked a "war of words" between the neighbouring islands and resulted in Mauritius dropping their slogan to a French-only campaign and two changes of the tourism slogan in the years since.
Later this month, Seychelles is scheduled to host the 6th edition of the economic forum of the Indian Ocean states and main issues dominating the forum include "regional economic and commercial integration" and tourism label for the Indian Ocean destination.
Chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association, Louis D'Offay, believes that
"our Indian Ocean islands are not yet mentally ready to say that we need to work together. Lip service to this noble proposal is still too much in evidence."
Last month, D'Offay led a Seychelles delegation to meet Mauritius officials with the hope to discuss plans for "Vanilla Islands grouping" but the outcome was not as successful as anticipated.
D'Offay also emphasised that if the Seychelles are going to stand out and attract more travellers to take Indian Ocean holidays, all beaches must "remain accessible to all our visitors" and "Beaches must remain public and gates barring public access to hotels as is the case in Mauritius must be discouraged."
The region's leading air carriers have discovered the potential in joining forces and a few years ago they launched the "Indian Ocean Pass" which enables tourists enjoying Seychelles holidays, Mauritius holidays and vacations in surrounding Indian Ocean island to "island-hop" and make the most out of their luxury breaks while boosting tourism in each nation and promoting regional integration.
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