Minister Alain St.Ange joined the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Naiken; Director of marketing, Rose-Marie Hoareau and tourism consultant, Glynn Burridge in meeting representatives of the local diving fraternity in order to consult with them on the future of SUBIOS, Seychelles Festival of the Sea, a popular event since 1990.
Present at the meeting were Sylvain Mortier of Blue Sea Divers; Desiree Savy from Frègate Island Dive Centre; Elizabeth Fideria from Big Blue Divers and event co-ordinator Michael Vielle in a disappointing turnout from the local diving community.
“We keep saying how important it is for us to work together to achieve our goals and, in this case promote Seychelles as a diving destination,” remarked Minister St.Ange, “and yet when it comes to standing up and being counted, the only ones visible are the same loyal few who seem more determined that others to try to get everyone to work together for growing the Dive Industry of the Islands.”
At the meeting, which was convened at ESPACE building, discussions centred on the future role of SUBIOS as an event and as a platform for the effective promotion of Seychelles as a diving destination. Suggestions from the divers present included the possible twinning of the island's SUBIOS with an existing foreign marine festival which would benefit from an existing structure and philosophy which Seychelles could then adopt and make its own over time.
Another focused on the need to identify and involve appropriate foreign media members who would be able to give Seychelles the visibility it seeks across prominent international media outlets.
Also discussed was the urgent need for the Seychelles diving community to organise itself into an official representative body that would be in a stronger position to table its concerns to government and take concerted action on the issues it faces.
“Seychelles is a remarkable destination for diving offering amazing dive experiences on both granite and coral reefs yet still relatively few people know this and it is widely recognised that more needs to be done to promote Seychelles,” commented Sherin Naiken, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, “but there has to be more proactive, structured engagement from local divers for this to happen.”
Fruitful discussions were held on the organisation of this year’s SUBIOS which will still be held under the name of SUBIOS but at which the future name, philosophy and direction of the event will be launched to the public.
“We are still taking on board suggestions from the diving community as to the future nature of this event, and this year we will witness the transition from the old to the new,” commented Alain St.Ange, “and this year’s event will, among other things, be a tribute to the SUBIOS of past years but will also include as part of its programme an official opening at the new EDEN Bleu Hotel at Eden Island; viewing of entries in a video & photo competition as well as a spectacular underwater film; themed evenings at a number of local hotels; an exhibition of schools’ paintings and poems at the National Library and a final family fun day at Beau Vallon with popular elements from previous years.”
This year’s SUBIOS; Festival of the Sea, is due to be held between 21st and 23rd November 2014.