“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 Celebration of “National Unity” will be the theme of Carnival 2016 in Seychelles.
This spectacular event held over three days in the heart of the Seychelles capital Victoria was baptised under the theme ‘the melting pot of cultures’.
The carnival has since 2011 received great visibility with the representatives from top media houses coming from Europe, Middle East, Americas, Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Over the past five years, the carnival has been known to be the biggest cultural manifestation in Seychelles, bringing together the best carnivals of the world to its shores such as the Brazilian group, the Notting Hill Carnival Roadshow Company of the UK , Düsseldorf carnival of Germany, the Italy Carnival, the Indonesian Carnival to name but a few. Cultural Troupes from the Community of Nations have also descended on the islands to parade alongside with delegations of the best carnivals of the world.
The carnival celebrated its fifth anniversary last year where again top international dignitaries graced the three-day event with their presence.
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.
The Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria remains a simple 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.
“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” Minister Alain St.Ange said.