Seychelles' former tourism minister, Alain St Ange, has been named the new president of the African Tourism Board.
St Ange will head a team of tourism experts in Africa to help create a unified destination concept for Africa. The announcement was made April 11 at the World Trade Market Africa held in Cape Town, South Africa.
"This African Tourism Board is for Africa and the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands what PATA is for Asia and the Pacific Region. Tourism must remain outside the political arena if it is to succeed and this will be my message as I plod along to work with tourism bodies and government ministers," said St Ange.
St Ange added: "When tourism stagnates those who have invested in that fragile industry are the first to suffer and they lose their investments as the hospitality trade employees lose their jobs and livelihood. We must let this industry succeed because it is not just an activity, but it is a fully fledged industry."
St Ange has been working in the tourism sector since 2009. Apart from working as the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, in 2012 when the regional organisation the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands was formed, St Ange was appointed as the first president of the organisation.
St Ange was appointed as Minister of Tourism and Culture in 2012, from which he resigned in December 2016 to pursue his candidacy as Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation but the post was awarded Walter Mzembi, the Zimbabwean candidate.
According to an article from the Daily Southern & East African Tourism Update, St. Ange said that "as a team, we need to rally as many tourism boards and their ministers to look at Africa as one. To facilitate what we are doing, we'll need to devise ways and means for us to bring Africa together.
"Only when we really know Africa ourselves, will we be able to work closer together. Tourism is the culture that we have, and when we appreciate our cultures and the diversity of cultures we have, we'll realise the need to work together to make tourism sustainable," St Ange added.
The African Tourism Board aims to bring Africa together as one destination, assist with outreach into new and exciting tourism markets, and provide a platform for tourism brands that want to communicate their African presence to global source markets.
A South African, Kwakye Donkor, was also appointed as the CEO of African Tourism Partners.
St Ange has pledged to work closely with different organizations within the tourism sector such the African Union (AU) Tourism Desk, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the World Travel & Tourism Council and Pacific Asia Travel Association.
"It is known and accepted that we have but one tourism industry, and that it remains the responsibility for everyone to work together to ensure that tourism is consolidated for the benefit of every country and for the people of all these countries," concluded St Ange.