Chennai: Legendary music director Ilayaraja was conferred the title ‘cultural ambassador of Seychelles’ in October 2014 by the government of Seychelles, an archipelago, comprising 115 pristine islands in the middle of Indian Ocean.
Last year, the island country named the Oscar-winning music composer A.R. Rahman as the cultural ambassador of Seychelles for his contribution in enhancing the country’s art and culture development. The Seychelles government’s move paid rich dividends and the nation has been getting required attention from people across the world. And the tourism sector has been growing steadily.
Bestowing cultural ambassador status to them were landmark events in bilateral cultural cooperation between India and Seychelles, said minister for tourism and culture, Seychelles, Alain St Ange, who was on a visit to city to inaugurate a road show to promote tourism in the islands. The minister will launch a similar road show in Bengaluru on Friday.
Speaking to DC, Alain St. Ange said “Every year, we appoint meritorious persons from India as cultural ambassador. Seychelles has always been looking at getting fair share of Indian tourism market. India is an important tourist market and we are only four hour and 30 minutes away from Mumbai. We have five direct flights from Mumbai to the islands. It is important that we go around different states of India to ensure we raise the visibility of Seychelles in India.”
He said, “We are also keen in developing good relations with India. During British colonial period, access to Seychelles was only through India. British Indian Ships used to stop in Seychelles”.
This relationship was built over the years and today we have prosperous Seychellou Indian who keep our economy moving forward. “And, we are building government-to-government relationship and getting closer. We continue to nurture the good relations built over the years,” he said.
“Seychelles tourism has been growing since we brought in direct flights to
India. Last year, 8,000 tourists from India visited the islands. This year so far, 3500 toured the country and it is progressing well.
“We hope to raise the tourist inflow by 10 per cent every year. Besides, Indians, a large number of people from Europe and Middle Eastern countries also savour the beauty of the islands.”
He said direct flights from Chennai and Bengaluru to Seychelles are important as a large number of Tamils migrate to Seychelles. We hope to introduce direct flights from Chennai and Bengaluru to Seychelles in the near future as this would give further flip to the sector. A corporate hospital also proposed to open a clinic in Seychelles....