Seychelles Tourism Minister Loustau-Lalanne endorsed former Minister St. Ange as the island’s candidate for Secretary-General of the UNWTO at a function at ITB Berlin in the presence of outgoing SG Taleb Rifai.

The Seychelles stand at ITB in Berlin was buzzing on Thursday 9th March as UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai (pictured above – right) arrived at the Seychelles stand with his entourage for the island’s cocktail event. Also present were Anil Gayan, Tourism Minister of Mauritius, Najib Balala, the Tourism Minister of Kenya, Joachim Duster, deputy head of mission from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Kampala, Lela Krstevska from the Government of Macedonia Tourism, a number of officials from tourism ministries from around the world and also members of the travel trade.

Edith Hunzinger, the Seychelles Tourism Board’s Manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland opened the formal part of the evening before handing over to Tourism Board CEO Sherin Francis, who spoke about the successes of the island’s tourism before speaking publicly to her former Minister Alain St. Ange. Ms Francis wished the Minister well, saying the island’s Tourism Board was proud of him and supported his candidature.

Minister Balala, Minister Lalanne and St Ange

Minister Balala, Minister Lalanne and Mr St. Ange

The new Seychelles Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine then used the opportunity to formally endorse Alain St. Ange, in his candidature for the post of Secretary General at the UNWTO: “We are right behind you, we wish you success in the coming UN elections and we look forward to tango with the UNWTO” said Minister Loustau-Lalanne.

Mr St. Ange began by thanking Minister Loustau-Lalanne for his support and good wishes and also Sherin Francis and her Tourism Board team their support. Former Minister St. Ange also thanked Taleb Rifai of the UNWTO for being present at the Seychelles function with his entourage and also Minister Anil Gayan of Mauritius and Minister Najib Balala of Kenya for being present. “Today I say thank you to Taleb Rifai, the outgoing Secretary General of the UNTWO for being present. We worked closely with you and appreciated your successes and accomplishments for tourism. I need to reassure you and your team at the UNWTO that if I am chosen as your replacement, your legacy will be safeguarded as we also move the UNWTO forward to face the challenges of the new era. Much will be done to face the challenges of each region as the UNWTO grows to respect the aspirations of each Member State and together face their challenges. I assure everyone to remain focused on the 11 and 12 May when the UNWTO elections will be held” said St. Ange.

Taleb Rifai took the stage to deliver the final speech of the evening, thanking St. Age for his work for tourism and for inviting him to the Seychelles for the second edition of the island’s Carnaval International de Victoria. “It was a trip that I remember vividly as the welcome, the people and the beauty of the islands marked me,” said Rifai, before adding that he wished St. Ange well in the coming elections for the new SG of the UNWTO.