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Why Alain St Ange is the best candidate for UNWTO Secretary General

May 2 • 2163 views • 1 Comment on Why Alain St Ange is the best candidate for UNWTO Secretary General Uganda

Transforming Africa through tourism. Why East African Alain St Ange is the best candidate for UNWTO Secretary General

Regular readers know that I specialise in writing about my adventures in Uganda and across East Africa. But behind all this fun, fun, fun, there is a serious message that, given the right support, tourism can transform the lives of people in developing countries. One billion people live on the African continent. Tourism can give communities across Africa the ability to lift themselves out of poverty, pay school fees and invest in the next generation.

I recently had an opportunity to learn about Alain St. Ange’s vision for transforming Africa through tourism, at the launch of the Destination East Africa‘ web portal at the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

Alain St Ange is East Africa’s candidate for the position of Secretary General of the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO). I have been following his campaign and sincerely hope he wins the vote on May 12th.  He is a man who focuses on the issues and has a phenomenal track record in developing tourism in the Seychelles. Vote for Africa, vote for integrity – please share this article!

UNWTO Candidate Alain St. Ange, Wolfgang Thome, Carmen Nibigira

UNWTO Candidate Alain St. Ange with Prof Dr Wolfgang Thome and Carmen Nibigira of East Africa Tourism

Alain posed a number of questions to get us thinking about what tourism really is.

“Is the Sheraton Hotel tourism? Yes it is, but even the entrance into the city of Kampala is tourism itself.” There are multiple ways in which people can get involved in tourism and infinite opportunities for profit and for investment.

Echoing the remarks of St Ange, Rex Nijhof, General Manager of the Kigali Marriott Hotel added “Our hotel guests visit markets, get a taxi, eat at other restaurants, and so on, so we should support these people. Our guests spend an average of 50 to 100 US dollars outside our hotels.”

St. Ange continued. “We believe that we should get the whole population of a country involved in the tourism industry. Look at the case of Rwanda. The whole country is involved in keeping the country clean. Even President Kagame takes part in Umuganda community work once every month.”

Did you know… 1 in 11 people work in tourism globally?

why_tourism_matters UNWTO“Is it enough just to have big hotels? No, we need to invite people to claim back the industry. We need to find the small businesses and entrepreneurs that will help make the private sector grow, for the benefit of their country. We need to have standards and tourism businesses need to be licensed. This is not about raising money but about ensuring good standards.”

Alain St Ange is the former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of the Seychelles, a small country of just 90,000 people. “Tourism is a pillar of our economy. The country suffers when tourism doesn’t work.”

According to Professor Dr Wolfgang Thome, the internationally respected East African tourism commentator, “arrivals in the Seychelles grew and grew with some phenomenal results in recent years. From 2009, visitor arrivals set new records, now in excess of 300,000 tourists per annum. January this year saw a rise of 34 percent more tourists streaming into the islands, to a large part attributed to a liberalized aviation regime which St. Ange influenced.”

Mare Anglaise, Seychelles Travel

Mare Anglaise, Seychelles Travel. The ‘Affordable Seychelles’ campaign is moving the perception away from the idea that the Seychelles is only exist for the rich and famous

Read The Tourism Legacy of Minister Alain St.Ange on the African Diaspora Tourism web site.”The Leader of Leaders Who Created the Carnival of Carnivals. An in-depth look at the one-of-a kind African Tourism Minister’s personality, leadership style, and accomplishments.”

How can we make development via tourism a reality for East Africa?

Alain St Ange is a candidate for the position of Secretary General of the UNWTO, the highest position in the organisation that brings together the Ministers of Tourism from around the world. His track record speaks for itself.

“A Secretary-General for Africa is needed and due. Africa gets less than 5% of global tourism arrivals. We need to grow Africa.

The tourism industry is very sensitive to the notion of the continent being one country. During Ebola, the world forgot that the African continent has 54 states. Travel advisories, for example, often referred to Africa, rather than the particular country they relate to. We need to raise the visibility of UNWTO to address these issues. It should be the rallying power.

I believe that the United Nations needs to be closer to its member states. We need representative offices of the UN in (the bigger countries of) Africa, to ensure UNWTO is well informed on what’s happening on the ground. We need to work alongside the Tourism Ministers of different countries across the continent. We need to decentralise the information-gathering (at the UNWTO HQ) in Madrid.”

Professor Dr Thome adds “In 2017, International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it is refreshing to hear a candidate with an Afrocentric approach, considerable experience developing world-class tourism in a developing country, strong support for ethical issues supporting the cause of the disabled, and tackling major issues head on such as climate change and marine plastics.”

Read more about Alain St. Ange’s campaign on Professor Dr Wolfgang Thome’s industry-leading blog:

St. Ange UNWTO candidacy based on success, success and more success 2nd March 2017

Endorsements keep rolling in for St. Ange as other candidates struggle to keep up the momentum 11th April 2017

St. Ange remains in the running head held high as fake news fail to make an impact 27th April 2017

Alain St. Ange has been interviewed by the following highly acclaimed channels:

The elections to determine the successor for Dr. Taleb Rifai for the Secretary-General of UNWTO take place on 12th May 2017.

Please share this story. Although it is the Ministers of Tourism who will be voting, YOU can help influence them!

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One Response to Why Alain St Ange is the best candidate for UNWTO Secretary General

  1. The dirty tricks campaign got even dirtier as the election approached.

    In an emotional speech, St. Ange said:

    ““I hope that the Seychelles people will be able to forgive me for not being able to now see this through”

    It with mixed emotions that I stand before you all today.

    I am filled with pride first and foremost at how far our small Island Nation, the Seychelles, has come in the race for the prestigious role of Secretary General of the UNWTO, the highest office of tourism in the world.

    However, I am also filled with disappointment and regret that I cannot see this race to completion and cross that finishing line with my fellow candidates and esteemed colleagues.

    I have dedicated my career to the field of Tourism. I have served proudly in my country as CEO for Tourism, following which I was appointed as Minister for Tourism and Culture. Later I was entrusted with more responsibility; my portfolio was expanded to Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports, and Marine. In addition to this, I was a founding member of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Organization and elected as the first President thereof. I worked diligently and tirelessly for my country throughout this period.

    I have served as an Executive Committee Member for the UNWTO for the past two years, working hard alongside most of you for the betterment of world tourism, a privilege which I alone enjoyed amongst my fellow candidates.

    I have always been passionate about the field and I remain excited to work with all of you in the future in some shape or form to further our ideals.

    I resigned from my Ministerial role when I was inundated with support from various countries to pursue the role for SG following Mr. Taleb Rifai announcing that the end of term was coming. I entered the race for the post with the firm, heartfelt belief that Seychelles, as a small Island State within Africa, has a voice, that we matter, and that we have the capacity to be a leader in tourism in the global arena. In addition, I had, and still have, the conviction that we would have brought something entirely different to the table, an element of diversity, which only a small country with a melting pot of cultures like ours could.

    I put my heart and soul into my campaign over the past five months, incurring great costs at my own expense, and meeting great people along the way.

    I arrived in Madrid a few days ago with my ever supportive family and friends, only to learn soon after landing that my tireless campaign had been turned abruptly on its head. I was informed informally via telephone by the Vice President of Seychelles that my Island Nation had revoked my candidature. A few moments later the news spread like wildfire on social media.

    Following the threat of sanction communicated by the African Union to Seychelles, the Seychelles had little choice but to bow to the demand and hastily revoke its candidature. It could be perceived as a display of bad faith by the Seychelles to revoke its candidature a mere two days before the UNWTO elections, after months of campaigning, but it must be remembered that Seychelles is a small Island Nation which is highly dependent on support from its neighboring countries. Together we triumph, alone we fall.

    Needless to say, I am saddened that I will not have the opportunity to see the promise that I made to many of you to fulfillment. I will forever be grateful to those of you who pledged support for me in today’s elections, and to those of you who will continue to work with me for the benefit of global tourism.

    My interests have always been and will continue to be for the furtherance of Seychelles and to forge important ties between the world tourism community.

    I regret that I will not be able to honor my promise to the Seychellois people to take our Nation further than it has ever been before. I hope that the Seychelles people will be able to forgive me for not being able to now see this through.

    It is important to note at this juncture and to bring to the attention of the Executive Council of the UNWTO the reason for my address this morning.

    Despite President Faure of the Seychelles withdrawing my candidature by way of a letter three days ago, there are procedural irregularities in his withdrawal letter which cannot be overlooked. The power to withdraw my candidature rests with me alone. He can, however, withdraw the Letter of Endorsement that he wrote which accompanied my candidature. Had he withdrawn the endorsement he graciously gave me, it would cause my candidature to fall.

    A win for me would have been a win for Seychelles, and a win for Africa. However, to contest his letter is to leave my country vulnerable to the threat of sanction.

    Though I would have served the UNWTO well and to the best of my abilities, and that I would have made my small country proud, and Africa proud, I can assure you that I will continue to dedicate my life to world tourism. With that said, although technically I am still a viable member for the position of SG, I am bound to comply with the firm directive of the African Union and the wishes of my country’s President, and regretfully bow out at this very late stage of the race with my head held high.

    There are now five remaining candidates for the post of SG. I have met and interacted with all of them along the way. There are a few excellent prospects for the role, and it is my humble view that, if they are elected, they are capable of serving you diligently and lead you competently into the new era. With that said, I pledge my support to the future SG. I will strive to unify the tourism leaders so that we can continue to prosper the tourism industry.

    With these few words, I wish to end with a quote from one of the great leaders of Africa, and of the world: Nelson Mandela.

    He said: “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

    God bless, and I am grateful to you all and to my country for having given me the opportunity to run for the position of SG of the UNWTO”

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