SEYCHELLES – The Seychelles main newspaper Nation reports that Former tourism, civil aviation, ports and marine minister Alain St.Ange was able to start this year on a good note ahead of his quest for the top post at the World Tourism Organisation(UNWTO).
This was through a gathering hosted by AVANI resort at Barbarons to recognise and thank him for his hard work and fruitful partnership for the past few years.
Present during the cocktail was the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Sherin Francis, principal secretary (PS) for tourism Anne Lafortune, general managers (GMs) of some hotels, directors of destination management companies (DMCs), airline heads, among other distinguished representatives from tourism establishments.
During the event, AVANI GM Stephane Vilar presented Mr St.Ange with a voucher of 5 nights' stay in any hotel or resort of the Minor Hotel Group (MHG).
Mr St.Ange said his journey was challenging but his real success is the friends he made in the industry.
"Time has flown very fast. I left the office last Friday with a lot of mixed emotions and I made a speech at the senior management meeting which made everybody cry. It showed that we were work colleagues but we had something that held us together, it was the human value that makes tourism work," he said.
He said tourism is not just a factory that ditches out cars or a brewery that brings out beer bottles, it is a human touch which us people have to work together to get the industry to work as tourism equals people.
"As I leave I can say that I gave my best, I leave happy for a job well done and I did what I could have done," he said.
He wished his successor Maurice Loustau-Lalanne well and stated that the new minister has an easier job than what he had when he stepped in but with support of the trade he will be successful.
Mr St Ange said he took a gamble to pitch his name for the post of secretary general of the UNWTO as he felt he was at the pinnacle of his career.
"If I win at the head of tourism worldwide it will bring benefits to the home country, Indian Ocean islands and Africa as well," he said.
In a week and a half he is expected to formally put in his name for his candidature in Madrid. From then he has to go door to door to collect votes until the election is held in May.
Mr Vilar said they hosted this event to wish farewell the former minister and thank him for all his support.
"I think it is a well deserved recognition to Mr St Ange after all the contributions and support he has given to AVANI and other partners of the trade," he said.
Speaking on behalf of those present, Mason's Travel managing director Alan Mason said getting a large group of GMs and celebrities of the tourism industry together is not easy and it reflects the amount of respect towards Mr St Ange and recognition for the work done by the former minister.
"It speaks volumes for itself that they are all here and we wish you all the success on your journey now and you have all our support," he said.
Mr Mason also thanked Mr Vilar for the quick initiative of setting up the gathering as they would not have had the chance to properly see off Mr St Ange.