The Ministry of Tourism and Leisure and the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, in collaboration with the Regional Council of Reunion Island, held a workshop with the representatives of 15 regional and international airlines that operate in Indian Ocean region to find ways to offer the most competitive rates to boost the Vanilla Islands project.
Tourism Minister Nando Bodha said yesterday the main objective is to facilitate travel within the Indian Ocean region and to market all the islands of the Indian Ocean region.
“The competition is not among the islands of the Indian Ocean but we have to market the Indian Ocean region as a whole to be more dynamic and boost tourist arrivals.
“The realisation of this vision needs the close collaboration of all actors in the aviation industry. We need to work together to position the Indian Ocean as a major tourism hub of the world,” Mr Bodha said. He explained that it would be very important to allow tourists visiting islands in the Indian Ocean to have ease of travel.
The workshop also dealt with ways to ease entry for tourists in all the Indian Ocean islands and to allow tourists to easily shift from flights to cruising and vice-versa.
The President of the Regional Council of Reunion Island, Mr Didier Robert, said that the idea of marketing the islands of the Indian Ocean as a whole has been discussed since August last year and that the project is “very promising”.
He added that the aviation companies must be major players to boost tourist arrivals for the Indian Ocean region. “Maybe tourists would be able to travel from one to the other islands of the Indian Ocean at promotional prices once they have come to anyone of the islands. This is one example of the promotional packages which can be offered to tourists,” Mr Robert said.
He said that Reunion Island is also working towards boosting tourist arrivals. “The government has invested 350 million Euros to the revamp the two airports in Reunion and we want this very promising sector to become one of the most important fields of economic activity,” Mr Robert added.
The workshop also brought together representatives of the Ile de la Reunion Tourisme, the Seychelles Tourism Board, the Office Nationale du Tourisme de Madagascar and the Association Comorienne du Tourisme.
By Nitesh Boodhoo