As Seychelles celebrated the 32nd ‘Festival Kreol’ during the month of October, the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) took the opportunity to showcase some aspects of this annual celebration of the island’s culture and tradition in Abu Dhabi.
A cultural evening was organised at Hilton Abu Dhabi’s Hiltonia Lake Garden on Thursday October 26.
Some 120 guests including Seychelles’ new ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Jean-Claude Adrienne, Seychellois nationals living in the UAE, travel trade partners, media representatives among others, were in attendance.
The event spearheaded by STB’s tourism attaché in Abu Dhabi, Aliette Esther, ensured the theme chosen for this year’s Festival Kreol — ‘Proud of my Identity’ — was echoed through a combination of colours, flavours and sounds.
Guests were treated to mouth-watering dishes cooked using some typical Creole ingredients, ranging from crab & green mango salad, smoked mackerel fish salad, cassava & avocado salad, papaya salad, creole fish curry, coconut chilly chicken curry, among several other food items.
As is the case in any Creole celebration, the traditional music and dance was also on the programme. Guests were entertained well into the early hours of the morning with an all-Seychellois music performance, which saw the rhythmic séga beat skillfully played by well-known Seychellois entertainer, Emmanuel Marie, who lives in the UAE. He was joined by saxophonist Jean Quatre, while Billy and Erica Rangasamy gave a beautiful demonstration of the séga dance as they moved to the beat of the music.
Ms Esther said the event as a great success.
“We tried our utmost to bring a taste of our culture and identity to Abu Dhabi. Each event on the programme served to transport guests to the paradise islands of the Seychelles archipelago,” said Ms Esther.
The feeling was echoed by those present – both the Seychellois and non-Seychellois guests.
Temesgen Gelaw, sales manager at Park Rotana & Park Arjaan by Rotana Abu Dhabi, said: “It was indeed an amazing experience,” adding that he was now fully ready to visit the Seychelles and would be recommending friends, individuals, honeymooners’ and companies to visit the island destination.
Reminiscing about the Seychelles islands as she indulged in the ambiance of the soirée, Rania Younes, media ambassador for the Seychelles in the UAE said: “Every time I go to the Seychelles, I come back with a stronger belief that we live in a world of beauty, charm and adventure.”
The night ended with a raffle draw featuring prizes that will allow the lucky winners to experience the Seychelles islands. Prizes were sponsored by Seychelles’ DMCs — Mason’s Travel, Creole Travel Services and Vision Voyages Seychelles — as well as luxurious resorts like the Doubletree by Hilton Seychelles, Kempinski Seychelles Resort, Eden Bleu Hotel, Savoy Resort & Spa Seychelles, The H-Hotel, Constance Lemuria Seychelles, Six Senses-Zil Pasyon and North Island. A few Abu Dhabi Hoteliers — Corniche Hotel Abu Dhabi and Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana – also sponsored prizes.
Aside of celebrating the Creole culture and identity, the event was also an opportunity for the STB office in Abu Dhabi to thank all of its trade partners who have contributed towards efforts to promote the destination.
The United Arab Emirates is currently Seychelles’ third leading tourism market in 2017. According to statistics, the UAE has sent 24,045 visitors to Seychelles up to October 29, representing a 20 percent increase when compared to the same period last year.
Ms Esther said: “Seychelles does not sell itself. A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes, and the least we can do is to express some gratitude through this event, where we also showcased how we take pride in promoting and sharing our culture.”
The Seychelles Tourism office in Abu Dhabi will be rounding off its activities for the year by collaborating with travel trade partners in the 2017 Abu Dhabi Travel Trade Event (ADTTE). The event will take place on Thursday November 16, at Bab Al Qasr Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Source : Seychelles NATION