Costa Cruises and the Vanilla Islands have signed an agreement for closer cooperation. Norbert Stiekema, the Executive VP, Sales & Marketing of Costa Cruises, joined Arnaud Martin, the Chairman of the Mauritius Tourism Promotional Authority (MTPA); Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture; Patrick Serveaux, the President of Ile Reunion Tourisme (IRT); and Pascal Viroleau, the CEO of the Vanilla islands at the Top Resa Tourism Trade Fair in Paris for the formalizing of the document that was initially discussed in Seychelles during the 2015 Carnaval International de Victoria.
Vanilla Islands is a brand affiliation of the island nations of Seychelles, Madagascar, La Réunion, Mauritius, Comoros, Mayotte and Maldives in the Indian Ocean to form a new travel destination brand. Aim of the co-operation that has been founded on August 4, 2010 at La Réunion is to pool forces and jointly market the region compared to the solely individual marketing of each island in the past.
At the initial discussion, Xavier-Luc Duval, the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius; Didier Robert, the Regional President of La Reunion; Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture; Michel Ahamed, the Director of Mayotte Tourism; and representatives of Madagascar Tourism met with Mr. Stiekema of Costa Cruises to open discussions that have now paved the way for the formal signature of an agreement for cooperation.
Costa Cruises will be doubling the number of passengers cruising the Indian Ocean and also increase their cruise ship season. At the Paris meeting, it was also agreed that for the arrival of the first Costa Cruise ship of this coming season, ministers of the region would all join together in Mauritius to welcome the ship, and they together will board the ship for a two-day cruise to the Seychelles. The tourism ministers will be joined on board by Costa Cruises executives and Pascal Viroleau, the CEO of the Vanilla Islands, where they will together work out a detailed plan of action for cooperation.
The Vanilla Islands representatives at the Top Resa Tourism Trade Fair in Paris said that increasing the number of port calls and passenger numbers was already a positive way forward, but more importantly it was the commitment to extend the length of stay by the Costa Cruises Ships in the ports of the Vanilla Islands of the Indian Ocean.
The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is an intergovernmental organization that was created in 1982 at Port Louis, Mauritius and institutionalized in 1984 by the Victoria Agreement in Seychelles. The IOC is composed of five African Indian Ocean nations: Comoros, Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. The five islands share geographic proximity, historical and demographic relationships, natural resources and common development issues. IOC’s principal mission is to strengthen the ties of friendship between the countries and to be a platform of solidarity for the entire population of the African Indian Ocean region and includes development, through projects related to sustainability for the region, aimed at protecting the region, improving the living conditions of the populations and preserving the various natural resources that the countries depend on. Being an organisation regrouping only island states, the IOC has usually championed the cause of small island states in regional and international fora.