The Vanilla Island concept designed by the tourist boards of the Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles, Reunion Island, Madagascar, and spear headed by Mauritius’ MTPA, is gaining traction as the group looks to collectively brand themselves to better market to emerging and current markets. A recent meeting of the islands tourism representatives in Port Louis, Mauritius gave the individual tourism boards a chance to present their countries strengths, weaknesses and potential areas for collaborative marketing.
Quote | Mauritius Minister of Tourism, Nando Bodha | “Much remains to be done to make the concept Islands Vanilla a perfect product. But the efforts made so far in the right direction. This concept is now a reality, ”
Quote | Ile Maurice Tourisme | ” All those present said they were “extremely motivated” by the realization of the concept “Vanilla Island”
Discussions on the meetings second day revolved around visa’s for citizens of emerging markets, air capacity and frequency, airfare costs, employment standards as well as investment and infrastructure. The outline of a strategy to work together towards achieving the regions broader potential as a world renowned tourism region was also discussed.
Mauritius has long been a recognised market for Australians – specialist travel companies exist selling Mauritius holidays to the islands best hotels and resorts – packaged with airfares, transfers and meals !!
The islands resorts have similar early booking discounts and long stay offers, similar to package deals from core Australian holiday markets like Fiji, Thailand, Tahiti and Bali.
Australian travellers, while not starved for premium airline choice, currently have direct access to Mauritius with Air Mauritius flying out of Sydney and Melbourne,and Air Austral out Sydney. (Amended 26 September 2012 see post here ) Air Mauritius operates a twice weekly service from Perth direct to Mauritius.
The long haul Air Mauritius routes into Europe, the UK, Africa, Australia and now China, mean the island has huge capacity to deliver tourists to its shores, and huge capacity to handle tourists.
The Seychelles has great access out of Europe with direct flights. Australian’s now have the benefit of almost direct flights through Mauritius or Reunion ( although expect a night or two before connections ). Air Seychelles now also fly’s from Singapore – an easy gateway from all Australian major capitals
The Seychelles have a well-recognised and long standing tourism industry, with lots of hotels and resorts to choose from. Islands hopping voyages operated by Silhouette Cruises are a great way to see all the islands – without unpacking all the time or the burden of lots of sea and plane transfers.
Air Austral’s extensive network from France allows huge capacity to connect onto Mauritius as well as the islands of Seychelles. With a network servicing regional Madagascar with direct flights into Antanarivo, Tamatave and Nosy Be, Air Austral offers a great way to get further afield, and really see some of the more remote islands, jungles, beaches and cultures that Madagascar has to offer.
Images in this post with thanks to Constance Resorts | 1. Mauritius : Belle Mare Plage | 2. Seychelles : Ephelia Resort | 3. Madagascar : Tsarabanjina Lodge
This post sponsored by Constance Hotels and Resorts
Tweet Join the Twitter debate !! Check out some of the tweets about Vanilla Islands
Does anyone still refer to the Indian Ocean Islands as the Vanilla Islands? — Encompass Africa (@encompassafrica) January 4, 2012
‘Vanilla Islands’ ready to absorb destination traffic shift after Maldives ban Spa’s wp.me/pTJa9-Xk
— Dr. Wolfgang H Thome (@whthome) January 1, 2012