Re-evaluate Vanilla Islands Concept – Mauritius Expert Asks


A tourism expert from Mauritius, Dr. Vanessa Gaitree Bheekhoo (GB) Gowreessunkar has come out strongly to advocate the need for the island nation to take a look again at the Vanilla Islands concept for their marketing.

Dr. GB Gowreessunkar published a comprehensive study alongside Maximiliano Korstanje from Argentina and Shem Wambugu Maingi from Kenya, which stated that Mauritius being part of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Island Group, alongside Seychelles, Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros and Mayotte Islands needs to embrace the concept.

Vanilla Islands Mauritius
Dr. Vanessa Gaitree Bheekhoo (GB) Gowreessunkar

It is known that ever since the change from Alain St. Ange, as the Minister of Tourism of Seychelles, who was the driving force behind the regional organisation, this Indian Ocean Islands grouping has been operating in a low-key approach and reduced speed.

According to Dr. GB Gowreessunkar, since Mauritius is a small island with not much to offer apart from the beaches and some cultural attractions, there is a need for island nation to work with its neighbours to create more of an attraction for visitors.


The tourism expert in her document “Tourism in Crisis” stated that Mauritius also needed to push forward the concept of good governance saying that too often tourism enterprises were subject to a cartel of important personalities. She cited the issue of production of fruits and vegetables to seeking of consultants as examples where it was always the same personalities who benefited.

Dr Vanessa GB Gowreessunkar, said that Mauritius could also seek the assistance of the UNWTO as has been done by several other countries as she stated that the tourism crisis across the word was not finished and that the world was experiencing a mutation of the tourism industry.

The words by the editors of this tourism document that was published by Nova Science Publishers in the United States on the merit of the Indian Ocean Vanilla islands are the exact same words echoed by Alain St. Ange, the former Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine of the Seychelles at the launch of the regional body that brought together Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros and Mayotte.

Mauritius, Vanilla Islands

The organisation was formed in Reunion in 2010 and in 2012 its first President Alain St. Ange was elected at a tourism Minister’s Meeting held in Seychelles. St. Ange was President of the Vanilla Islands for two consecutive years before passing the presidency to President Didier Robert of Reunion in 2014 and the Mauritius Deputy Prime Minister Duval in 2015.

Dr Vanessa (Gaitree) Gowreesunkar is an Associate Professor with varied research interests in tourism. She is a citizen of Mauritius with a PhD cutting across three disciplines namely Tourism Management, Communication and Marketing. Vanessa is the Associate Editor of the Emerald International Journal of Tourism Cities.

With over a decade of experience in teaching, training and research, Vanessa has brought her contributions in various international universities and educational institutions. She currently serves as Associate Professor at the Anant National University in India. Previously, she was assuming the role of Head of Department for Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Africa. 


ITB India

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