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August 15, 2010

Indian Ocean islands come together under new brand

Directors of various tourism boards of the Indian Ocean islands attended a meeting recently on Reunion Island to develop a marketing plan for the region’s tourism industry.

Present at the meeting were, Alain St.Ange from Seychelles, Joel Randriamandranto from Madagascar, Pascal Viroleau from Reunion, and Dr Karl Mootoosamy from Mauritius. The president of the Chamber of Commerce for Reunion Island, Pascal Plante, chaired the one-day meeting, which took place in Saint Denis on Reunion Island.

The aim was to revitalise the Indian Ocean islands’ consumer and business tourism by reinforcing the islands’ attractiveness through a series of measures aimed to penetrate and secure new markets through each of the island’s unique selling points. Another objective was to put into place either a culture of evaluation or a system of marketing research that will assist the islands either on an individual or on a collective basis.

To better position the region at the international level, the representatives from the region have agreed on a brand image – the Vanilla Islands – for the Indian Ocean to better sell the islands as a whole. Accessibility, quality, uniqueness, and competitiveness, together with the local culture of each of the islands, are all attributes that can help the region rise to this new positioning.

In order to start building this new image of the Indian Ocean, it was agreed that there were some priorities that first needed to be put in place, including the set up of a website, a joint promotion to further develop the cruiseship business, and the establishment of a regional academy to create people that specialise in products of the region.

Alain St.Ange, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said that the idea of a label for the Indian Ocean islands was a must in this globalised world.

“We all need to be proud of our region and then to push that region to ensure that the strengths and unique selling points of each of our islands are put forward in our bid to bring the Indian Ocean Islands to the minds of potential visitors. Together we are strong, and together we are not an island but part of a whole destination," he said.

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