World | Africa

June 25, 2012

Youssou N'Dour: "Building Tourist Bridges Between Senegal And Mauritius"

Youssou N'Dour, one of the best known African musicians and respected on the world stage, became Minister of Culture and Tourism of Senegal. A new stage for the singer with the voice of gold, which remains above all an artist engaged in the advocacy of humanitarian issues.

As part of the Biennale of African Arts, "Dak'Art 2012," he told the "Express" and was convinced that Maurice, he visited a few years ago, and Senegal can get rich.

Are you planning to establish tourist and cultural exchanges with Mauritius?

Of course. There are many things that can be envisaged between our two countries in the context of relationships broken down by our respective authorities. Senegal can learn from the success of Mauritius in the tourism sector, and Mauritius can be seen in Senegal, an excellent cultural scene. The ministries of both countries should consider meetings in Senegal and Mauritius to discuss the possibilities that will bring much to our artists and peoples. I firmly believe that our two countries can learn from each other by building bridges in these two areas.

What inspires you in Mauritius as a tourist destination?

That the small island of 2,040 sq km, is beginning to make a place in the sun, beside the main tourism destinations in Africa.Mauritius is an example of success of tourism on the African level. Its potential is enormous. The impact of tourism is important in the gross domestic product, nearly 10%, if I'm not mistaken. This is a huge increase in just a few years. Senegal is yet far from our goal was to surpass the one million tourists in 2010. The Mauritian model, which has managed to work its European markets and entice those of proximity, is an example to follow. The Mauritian authorities have been active and I want to congratulate the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority has done an excellent job since its inception in 1996.

What kind of challenge is for you, your ascension to the post of Minister of Culture and Tourism of Senegal?

Nothing extraordinary, if not my mission to succeed. People expect a lot from me. It will do me no favors. When I look at the situation in which we found the affairs of state and I see that expectations are very numerous in the areas of culture and tourism, there is no doubt: the site is huge. The challenge is even greater than the overall context is difficult, because of the international financial and economic crisis. I remain convinced that it is possible to boost things and revive the Senegalese economy.

In my case, the challenge is known. This is industrializing culture and make Senegal a popular destination. Soon I will launch the campaign "Destination Senegal." I expect that the roadmap is validated by the Prime Minister to run the program. My challenge is to make culture and tourism, the main udder of the economy of our country.

"Dak'Art" participates in the international influence of Senegal. What did you think of the 2012 edition?

The next will be better and worked better than 2012. I'm not saying I'm not satisfied, on the contrary. But I think the Dak'Art must be more ambitious. It is set in a beautiful city, it can have a partner permeated city hall more and more involved. The Dak'Art can be a global meeting in Dakar. That said, the organizers did a tremendous job in a financial environment less obvious.

In Africa, culture is often, unfortunately, largely supported or sustained by the State. It is not easy, given the lack or narrowness of the cultural market in our skies. I still wanted this edition to be held despite our late arrival to the business. We have made our jobs a few days before the opening of Dak'Art. It was not clear. But the continuity of the state, it is also the odd live and I must take my hat off to the organization that has done everything that the 2012 edition a success.

Mauritius was present for the second time in, "Dak'Art", through the artist Nirveda Alleck. What is this participation mean to you?

This proves that this cultural event is gaining success, to internationalize, it has become an important showcase of arts and cultural expressions of Africa. This is what justifies the presence of several African artists including that of Nirveda Alleck who came from far away. I am firmly convinced that the Dak'Art will gain notoriety and he will become a rendezvous of the most important art world. I think precisely because artists like Nirveda Alleck and others are increasingly likely to come. This is a strong signal they send to other artists on the continent and the world. They are, somehow, the ambassadors of Dak'Art. It also means, he will have to work longer and better in organizing this important meeting so that it meets standards of the largest cultural organizations worldwide.

You have many admirers in Mauritius, what message would you like to get them through?

I would like to wish them good health and success in their business. I then tell them to work for the emergence and development of their country. They do not ask what brings them or their country can do for them, rather they are wondering what they can bring in Mauritius, because none other than Mauritians do work for their development. Mauritius is a beautiful country, it is to make it even more beautiful, more pleasant for her children. And for that, there is no other way but to work there. They believe in themselves and their country.

Text by lexpress.mu
 

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