UNIVERSITY OF SEYCHELLES FACULTY OF ARTS ANDSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MSC INSUSTAINABLE TOURISM MANAGEMENT/ MASTER GESTION DU TOURISME DURABLE MODULE: FINANCEMENT ETMECENAT ASSIGNMENT TITLE:COURSEWORK 1 – GROUP ASSIGNMENTPart 1.Geopolitics of Tourism andInternational Institutions Accordingto the Merriam-Webster dictionary, geopolitics is the study of how geographyand economics have an influence on politics and relations between nations. Forits part, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines geopolitics as the analysis ofthe geographic influence on power relationships in international relations. Ina broad sense therefore, geopolitics refers to the foreign policy and therelations that exist between different countries. It has also been largelyargued that geopolitics focuses on political power in relation to geographic space and refers to a state’sprojection of its power beyond its border in the pursuit of their nationalinterest (Malmgren, 2015). Theserelations are often considered as means to promote peaceful and mutuallyenriching human coexistence (Megoran, 2010).In the modern world however, geopolitics goes beyond merely the bilateralrelationship and discussions between nations but encompasses also the need torespond to the foreign policy of others as well as the vulnerability to eventsthat are entirely outside national control (Malgren, 2015).
Sincepost independence, the Seychelles foreign policy has been that of a positive, nonalignment,where it pursues an active and independent course in the conduct of its internationalrelations. On the international front, Seychelles is a member of variousorganisation such as the United Nations, the International Monitory Fund, theCommonwealth, the Organisation of African Unity, the Southern AfricanDevelopment Community and the World Tourism Organisation among others. As asmall island nation which relies heavily on imports and international tourists,being a member of those organisations and fostering cooperation with majordeveloped countries, is crucial in terms of trade, security, aid and thefacilitation of inbound tourist. Althoughthe business volume of tourism has seen a significant increase over the pastdecades and is considered as a major player in world commerce, tourism is not anew phenomenon.
However, in contrast to the early tourists who soughtrelaxation and pleasure within their homeland but in regions away from the maintown or cities, the modern tourist epitomizes the pursuit of pleasure in a locationaway from home which in the majority of cases requires travel outside one’s owncountry. In order to facilitate such movement of the masses to and fromdifferent countries, there needs to be in place agreements between nations. Theseagreements set out the terms and conditions to facilitate travel to the hostcountry and create favorable condition for tourism development. Forits part, Seychelles tourism took off in the early 70’s with the opening of itsinternational airport. This endeavor made this small island nation, which untilthen was thriving on export, more accessible to the outside world and placedSeychelles on the map as an exotic destination.
The construction of internationalbrand hotels further enhanced the tourism industry making it currently thenumber one sector of the economy with a record arrival of nearly 350, 000visitors for 2017. As anisland state in the Indian Ocean, it is important that Seychelles attract asmany tourists as possible. However one should recognize that Seychelles faces fiercecompetition from other neighboring countries such as Mauritius, Maldives, Reunionand Madagascar.
Similar to Seychelles, these countries also rely on tourism asthe driver of their economy. As all other destinations, each respective countrywas doing its own marketing but soon realized that as small states, they facehuge competitions from other island destinations bearing the same highlyacclaimed attractions such as lush, natural environment, white, sandy beachesbut with more available resources. Comparatively, the entire Indian Oceanreceived 3.9 million tourists in 2011 whilst the Caribbean boasted asignificant 20.9 million tourist in that same year (World Bank group, 2013). Itis such performance that made tourism leaders in the Indian Ocean realized thatquite possibly the region had such low tourist flow due to lack of regionalcooperation between countries in the Indian Ocean. With strong influence of Mr.St.
Ange, the then Seychelles tourism minister, and the tourism ministers ofthe other Indian Ocean states agreed on regional integration through thecreation of an organisation where members states would work collaboratively to revitalizethe marketing for the island and promote the Indian Ocean region under onebrand (Seychelles news agency, 2014) rather than competing against each other. Sinceits launch on the 4th August, 2010, the vanilla island concept hashelped in the development of the cruise sector within the region, although suchmarket is limited and has been hindered by piracy, and has also provided anopportunity to market the Indian Ocean region as multi-destination packages(eturbonews, 2014). Mr. St. Ange was president of the organization for twoconsecutive mandates. Such is a clear indication of Seychelles commitment towardsthe accomplishment of the organizations’ objectives.
It isworth noting that through this regional cooperation Seychelles has benefittedfrom increased connectivity with increased flights to Mauritius andintroduction of flights to Madagascar both by the national airline, AirSeychelles as well as the introduction of the Air Austral from Reunionconnecting Seychelles to Reunion and alternatively to France. With theincreased connectivity, Seychelles is in a better position to trade with theother vanilla states and there have also been greater opportunities forcultural exchange amongst vanilla island member states. The formation of thevanilla island has also seen increase support from donor organisations such asthe European Union which pledged its support for the development andimplementation of an Indian Ocean Commission tourism cooperation strategy aswell as its allegiance with Seychelles in the fight against piracy through the EuropeanUnion Naval Force Operation Atalanta (EUNAVFOR). Other organisations haveprovided support such as monetary and manpower for capacity building in sectorsother than tourism such as fisheries, infrastructure and financial sectordevelopment. Otherthan the creation of the common marketing objectives, the vanilla islands needto set itself apart from other multi-destinations. Such can be achieved throughthe use of authentic experience as unique selling points.
The purpose of today’stourist is to travel off the beaten path and seek the unknown. The modern traveleris no longer satisfied with superficial tourist activities bit rather seek toexperience authentic local lifestyle, customs and cultures. The vanilla islandsshould therefore develop their tourism product around showcasing unique, individualculture and traditions through folkloric traditions, arts and crafts, ethnichistory and food which would provide the visitors with experiences they couldn’tget anywhere else. Such would give the tourists something else to appreciateother than the usual sun, sea and sand to which the vanilla islands are mostcommonly attributed for. Furthermore, tourism development can be a positiveagent in revitalizing culture and tradition. Nonetheless, presenting cultural manifestation,customs and traditional lifestyle needs to be done in such a way that themanifestation does not distort local traditions in order to meet the needs ofthe guest. Such presentation would become staged as was stated by MacCannel(1976) when he presented the concept of staged authenticity as creating animpression of authenticity for a tourist audience.
Reference ú Cohen, E. (1979), ‘Rethinking the sociology of tourism’,Annals of Tourism Research, 6, 18-35. Google Scholarú MacCannell, D. (1973), ‘Staged Authenticity.
Thearrangement of social space in tourist settings’, American Journal of Sociology, 79, 589-603. ú Malmgren, P. (2015) ‘Geopolitics for Investors’, CFAInstitute Research Foundation M2015-1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2580184ú Megoran, N. (2010),’ Towards a geography of peace:Pacific geopolitics and evangelical Christian Crusade apologies’, Transactionsof the Institute of British Geographers. 35.
382 – 398. ú Messerli, Hannah; Weiss, Brad; Kua, Juliana; Bakker,Martine; Tomatis, Joseph; Rajeriarison, Patricia. 2013. Indian ocean tourism:regional integration or cooperation? (English). Washington DC ; World Bank. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/363671468001818766/Indian-ocean-tourism-regional-integration-or-cooperationú http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/1285/Climate+change%2C+Vanilla+Islands+concept%2C+blue+economy+-+key+focus+of+Seychelles+president%27s+bilateral+meetings+in+Samoaú https://www.eturbonews.com/87214/mauritius-parliament-discuss-tourism-vanilla-islandsú https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Deepak_Chhabra7/publication/222046919_Staged_authenticity_and_heritage_tourism/links/5a25b23da6fdcc8e866b9b42/Staged-authenticity-and-heritage-tourism.pdf Part 2Tourism and Poverty Reduction Section1: Tourism Initiative DescriptionThis proposalaims to give a description of a