The Seychelles Tourism Board has confirmed the dates of the 2016 edition of the island’s most popular annual festival, the ‘Carnaval International de Victoria’, this year as a celebration of national unity.
The archipelago’s primary tourism festival, the 6th since its launch in 2011, will continue to bring together the different cultures and people from around the world to one place. Dubbed as the ‘Carnival of Carnivals’ will this year’s event be held between the 22nd and 24th of April.
‘Nothing is more uniting, and nothing promotes social cohesion more than ‘festivals’ to which all people contribute’ said Minister Alain St. Ange, the island’s Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture following discussions with Claire Holder of the Notting Hill Carnival of the UK on their participation once again. Minister St. Ange announced that the 2016 edition of the carnival will be held under the theme ‘National Unity’. Held over three days in the heart of the Seychelles capital Victoria was the event regularly called a the melting pot of cultures, as the world of carnivals kept coming in ever growing numbers to the islands.
The festival has since 2011 received great media exposure from the representatives of top media houses coming from Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Over the past five years has the carnival become the biggest cultural festival in the Seychelles, bringing together the best carnivals of the world to its shores such as the best known Brazilian troupes, the Notting Hill Carnival Roadshow Company of the UK , the Düsseldorf carnival of Germany, the Italy Carnival, the Indonesian Carnival to name but a few. Cultural Troupes from the Community of Nations have also come to the islands to parade alongside with delegations of the best carnivals of the world.
In discussions with the Seychelles Tourism Board prior to confirming the dates for the 2016 edition of the carnival Minister Alain St. Ange said that many nations have jumped on the tourism bandwagon and tourism represents an integral and important element of broader economic and social development policy. But what differentiates one nation from another is, among other things, the quality and value derived from the attractions, both natural and man-made.
The Seychelles International Carnival should therefore be designed to aim at the ‘spectacularisation’ of the culture and heritage of the Seychelles Islands because tourists often demand ‘authentic’ exhibitions of culture and lifestyles which are considerably different from their own. The Carnival should also aim to express and showcase the modernity of the Seychelles without any loss of the charm of its traditional values and history.
‘Every year we spend time searching for the Soul of Seychelles through the Eyes of Carnival. We know carnivals of festivals remain a motivation of economic activity through the cultural and artistic creations and the general impact on infrastructure provisions. We also know that during carnival time our country benefits of the visitor expenditure multiplier effect in the fields of food production, catering, hospitality, hotels, crafts and souvenir production’ Minister St.Ange said adding that cultural contacts are seen to be strong drive and magnet for world peace and the perceived roles of the Seychelles in that process is set to be more appreciated as the more and more countries use the Seychelles cultural event to showcase their own culture and develop relationships with other nations from the Community of Nations.
The Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria continues to establish a close correlation between carnival attractions that bring together the arts, culture, history and heritage of Seychelles as it works in tandem with other countries who are proud of their own culture to showcase to the world media the unity through diversity and this immaterial of the colour of the skin, religious beliefs and political affiliation.
‘Today we know that the Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria has carved itself a unique place in the culture of Carnival, in that our carnaval invites the world to participate. There is no doubt that the Carnival has become an important feature in the calendrical cycle of tourism in Seychelles. However we also know that our carnaval needs to be more grounded in the history and culture of Seychelles, which Seychelles invites the world to experience. This we shall be working on for the coming edition in April’ said Minister St.Ange as he went on to explain that tourists today want a more inter-active experience in which they are also immersed in the culture and history of the destination and are able to experience the story of the Seychellois.
‘This can be done through Carnaval and is consistent with the underlying concept of “Searching for the Soul of Seychelles through the Eyes of Carnival” which simply means that the Carnaval must be used to tell the story of Seychelles and its people through arts, design and performance of themes that are uniquely Seychellois. We are a melting pot culture in so many different ways and meaning can be given to this through the “Eyes of Carnival”.
Through the carnaval the celebration of our very own diversity would resonate with the rest of the world where there are so many conflicts and ethnic tensions, the resolution of which has defeated most politicians, campaigners, institutions etc. The reality is that globalisation has turned the world into such a melting pot, that no assumptions can be made about ethnicity – everyone has a touch of somebody else in their DNA’ Minister Alain St. Ange said before adding: ‘You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one…this is why we are inviting our partner countries, International Carnivals, Cultural Troupes from the Community of Nations and also from the Seychelles itself all government ministries, non-government organisations, the business community and tourism trade partners to take part in the upcoming sixth Carnaval International de Victoria’.
The Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria remains a celebration of diversity and is a very important catalyst for conflict resolution and togetherness, and an instrument for telling the history of globalisation as it impacts on tourism destinations.
Airlines flying to the Seychelles are, from a growing number of destinations, national carrier Air Seychelles together with partner airline Etihad, Emirates which serves Mahe twice a day, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines with four flights a week, Air Austral from Reunion, Mihin Lanka from Colombo and Condor from Germany.
The Seychelles require no Visa from tourists who only need a confirmed return ticket and a confirmed hotel reservation to enter the archipelago, a measure which helped the Seychelles to establish a new visitor record once again last year.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Thome provides aviation, tourism & conservation news from
Eastern Africa & the Indian Ocean region. (wolfganghthome.wordpress.com)