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Seychelles’ former tourism minister confident of winning world tourism body’s secretary general post

Seychelles’ former tourism minister confident of winning world tourism body’s secretary general post

Alain St. Ange is Seychelles’ candidate for the post of Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Seychelles’ former minister of tourism says he is confident that he can win the post.

“As we stand today, I know that if the elections go into the second round, I shall be part of the second round balloting. The winner needs 50 percent plus one of the total votes in the first round to pull through,” Alain St. Ange told the  Seychelles Newspaper Agency (SNA).

St. Ange stepped down as the minister of tourism, civil aviation, ports and marine in December last year and expressed his intention of applying for the post of Secretary General of the UNWTO.

The post of Secretary General of the UNWTO is the highest public sector tourism position currently available, and St. Ange said, “My experience as a former tourism minister is essential for the position.”

The voting by member states will be held on the May 11 in Madrid, Spain. No candidate from Africa has held the UNWTO Secretary General’s post since the inception of the organization in 1975.

Tourism is the main contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. St. Ange said this means the Seychellois understand tourism well and that they live with and from tourism.

“The networking with tourism ministers from all over the world always made us look at tourism with one voice, and as tourism ministers, we all know the challenges the industry faces today,” he said.

The UNWTO is the leading international organization in the field of tourism and promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive of development and environmental sustainability. It also offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

The current Secretary General of UNWTO is Taleb Rifai, a Jordanian national who is due to step down at the end of the year.

Five candidates aside from St. Ange have confirmed their intentions to stand for the post. They are from Brazil, South Korea, Zimbabwe, Mexico, and Georgia.

St. Ange said his name was put forward for the post some 18 months ago.

“Internally, we knew that nomination formalities needed to be done by March 2017 for the May 2017 elections. Most candidates take the opportunity that the January tourism trade fair of Spain offers to launch their bid,” added St. Ange.

The international tourism trade fair in Spain called FITUR is a global meeting point for tourism professionals and was held January 18-22 in the Spanish capital of Madrid.

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