Inauguration of the tourism fair Madagascar

On Wednesday 29 May, the President of the Réunion Region, Didier Robert, inaugurated the Tourism Fair Madagascar on the "Vanilla Islands" events calendar for promoting the Indian Ocean destination, in presence of the Minister for Tourism of Madagascar, the Minister for Tourism of the Seychelles and President of the Vanilla Islands, the French Ambassador, the Head of the European Delegation and representatives from Mauritius, the Comoros and Mayotte, among others.

"Tourism must profit our economy and our people"

The Tourism Fair Madagascar is a much-anticipated event in the difficult economic and social context for the "Great Island", and more generally for the islands of the Indian Ocean. Indeed, some 80 exhibitors and around thirty members of the international press took part in this event. The aim - to contribute to increasing the visibility of the islands of the Indian Ocean. All of the Vanilla Island representatives share the same basic premise - that tourism creates a large number of jobs, both direct and indirect, and represents a remarkable driver of growth. All initiatives must therefore be undertaken in keeping with this approach and the "Vanilla Islands" strategy is unquestionably the best response.

"I am glad to see that a new synergy is growing day by day between us - a dimension which I am absolutely convinced will enable us to take a major step forward in terms of the success of our tourist economies", said President Didier Robert, who also stated that “the Vanilla Islands stands out as a pragmatic response to the changes brought about by globalisation and the new requirements of an international clientele looking for a change of scenery, authenticity and preserved sites, hence the great importance that we must attach to ecotourism and respecting our environment”.

Air service, visas, training, etc. - initiatives undertaken by the President.

“Accompanying our operators better, training our young people better, further improving the quality of tourism facilities, making our promotional activities more coherent both on the traditional markets, in Europe, and also with our shared desire to open up to the countries of the Great Indian Ocean, relaxing regulation concerning issuing visas, improving the air service between the islands and between the islands and the rest of the world”... Didier Robert referred to the major initiatives which require the commitment of public and private players in order to collectively succeed in the tourism challenge for our regions and our people.

Invitation to two major events on Réunion in 2013. Concerning the specific issue of air service, “this is one of the main areas of difficulty to be resolved and to which we must dedicate even more of our energies”, said the President in his speech. In this approach, the Minister for Tourism of the Seychelles and acting President of the Vanilla Islands association confirmed that a specific meeting would be organised in the following weeks, bringing together the different companies in the area and the partners”.

Lastly, the President promised to bring the participants together at two exceptional events that will take place on Réunion in 2013 -

from 11 to 13 September, the World Conference on the sustainable development of tourism, under the auspices of the World Tourism Organisation, which will welcome representatives from the national media and tourism experts from Europe, Canada, and islands such as Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, the Maldives, etc. In December, the festival “Libertés Métisses” (Mixed Freedoms), the Vanilla Islands event for Réunion.

Signing of a Framework Agreement for training

As part of this event, the President Didier Robert signed a Framework Partnership Agreement in the tourism sector with the National Tourist Office of Madagascar and its President Éric Koller. It is a partnership based around 6 axes:

support for establishing a hotel management school, comprising a functioning restaurant and hotel;
support for training trainers on a national level;
support for continuing training in the tourism, ecotourism, hospitality and catering industries and in specialist French;
logistical support in the field of professional equipment likely to be downgraded and given to Malagasy partners;
the provision of technical assistance through Volunteers of Progress;
teacher and intern exchanges.