UNIVERSITY Merriam-Webster dictionary, geopolitics is the study of how




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Part 1.

Geopolitics of Tourism and
International Institutions


to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, geopolitics is the study of how geography
and economics have an influence on politics and relations between nations. For
its part, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines geopolitics as the analysis of
the geographic influence on power relationships in international relations. In
a broad sense therefore, geopolitics refers to the foreign policy and the
relations that exist between different countries. It has also been largely
argued that geopolitics focuses on political power in relation to geographic space and refers to a state’s
projection of its power beyond its border in the pursuit of their national
interest (Malmgren, 2015). These
relations are often considered as means to promote peaceful and mutually
enriching human coexistence (Megoran, 2010).
In the modern world however, geopolitics goes beyond merely the bilateral
relationship and discussions between nations but encompasses also the need to
respond to the foreign policy of others as well as the vulnerability to events
that are entirely outside national control (Malgren, 2015).


post 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 international
relations. On the international front, Seychelles is a member of various
organisation such as the United Nations, the International Monitory Fund, the
Commonwealth, the Organisation of African Unity, the Southern African
Development Community and the World Tourism Organisation among others. As a
small island nation which relies heavily on imports and international tourists,
being a member of those organisations and fostering cooperation with major
developed countries, is crucial in terms of trade, security, aid and the
facilitation of inbound tourist.


the business volume of tourism has seen a significant increase over the past
decades and is considered as a major player in world commerce, tourism is not a
new phenomenon. However, in contrast to the early tourists who sought
relaxation and pleasure within their homeland but in regions away from the main
town or cities, the modern tourist epitomizes the pursuit of pleasure in a location
away from home which in the majority of cases requires travel outside one’s own
country. In order to facilitate such movement of the masses to and from
different countries, there needs to be in place agreements between nations. These
agreements set out the terms and conditions to facilitate travel to the host
country and create favorable condition for tourism development.


its part, Seychelles tourism took off in the early 70’s with the opening of its
international airport. This endeavor made this small island nation, which until
then was thriving on export, more accessible to the outside world and placed
Seychelles on the map as an exotic destination. The construction of international
brand hotels further enhanced the tourism industry making it currently the
number one sector of the economy with a record arrival of nearly 350, 000
visitors for 2017.


As an
island state in the Indian Ocean, it is important that Seychelles attract as
many tourists as possible. However one should recognize that Seychelles faces fierce
competition from other neighboring countries such as Mauritius, Maldives, Reunion
and Madagascar. Similar to Seychelles, these countries also rely on tourism as
the driver of their economy. As all other destinations, each respective country
was doing its own marketing but soon realized that as small states, they face
huge competitions from other island destinations bearing the same highly
acclaimed attractions such as lush, natural environment, white, sandy beaches
but with more available resources. Comparatively, the entire Indian Ocean
received 3.9 million tourists in 2011 whilst the Caribbean boasted a
significant 20.9 million tourist in that same year (World Bank group, 2013). It
is such performance that made tourism leaders in the Indian Ocean realized that
quite possibly the region had such low tourist flow due to lack of regional
cooperation between countries in the Indian Ocean. With strong influence of Mr.
St. Ange, the then Seychelles tourism minister, and the tourism ministers of
the other Indian Ocean states agreed on regional integration through the
creation of an organisation where members states would work collaboratively to revitalize
the marketing for the island and promote the Indian Ocean region under one
brand (Seychelles news agency, 2014) rather than competing against each other.


its launch on the 4th August, 2010, the vanilla island concept has
helped in the development of the cruise sector within the region, although such
market is limited and has been hindered by piracy, and has also provided an
opportunity to market the Indian Ocean region as multi-destination packages
(eturbonews, 2014). Mr. St. Ange was president of the organization for two
consecutive mandates. Such is a clear indication of Seychelles commitment towards
the accomplishment of the organizations’ objectives.

It is
worth noting that through this regional cooperation Seychelles has benefitted
from increased connectivity with increased flights to Mauritius and
introduction of flights to Madagascar both by the national airline, Air
Seychelles as well as the introduction of the Air Austral from Reunion
connecting Seychelles to Reunion and alternatively to France. With the
increased connectivity, Seychelles is in a better position to trade with the
other vanilla states and there have also been greater opportunities for
cultural exchange amongst vanilla island member states. The formation of the
vanilla island has also seen increase support from donor organisations such as
the European Union which pledged its support for the development and
implementation of an Indian Ocean Commission tourism cooperation strategy as
well as its allegiance with Seychelles in the fight against piracy through the European
Union Naval Force Operation Atalanta (EUNAVFOR). Other organisations have
provided support such as monetary and manpower for capacity building in sectors
other than tourism such as fisheries, infrastructure and financial sector


than the creation of the common marketing objectives, the vanilla islands need
to set itself apart from other multi-destinations. Such can be achieved through
the use of authentic experience as unique selling points. The purpose of today’s
tourist is to travel off the beaten path and seek the unknown. The modern traveler
is no longer satisfied with superficial tourist activities bit rather seek to
experience authentic local lifestyle, customs and cultures. The vanilla islands
should therefore develop their tourism product around showcasing unique, individual
culture and traditions through folkloric traditions, arts and crafts, ethnic
history and food which would provide the visitors with experiences they couldn’t
get anywhere else. Such would give the tourists something else to appreciate
other than the usual sun, sea and sand to which the vanilla islands are most
commonly attributed for. Furthermore, tourism development can be a positive
agent in revitalizing culture and tradition. Nonetheless, presenting cultural manifestation,
customs and traditional lifestyle needs to be done in such a way that the
manifestation does not distort local traditions in order to meet the needs of
the guest. Such presentation would become staged as was stated by MacCannel
(1976) when he presented the concept of staged authenticity as creating an
impression of authenticity for a tourist audience.



ú  Cohen, E. (1979), ‘Rethinking the sociology of tourism’,
Annals of Tourism Research, 6, 18-35. Google Scholar

ú  MacCannell, D. (1973), ‘Staged Authenticity. The
arrangement of social space in tourist settings’, American Journal of Sociology
, 79, 589-603.

ú  Malmgren, P. (2015) ‘Geopolitics for Investors’, CFA
Institute Research Foundation M2015-1. Available at SSRN:

ú  Megoran, N. (2010),’ Towards a geography of peace:
Pacific geopolitics and evangelical Christian Crusade apologies’, Transactions
of 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.





Part 2

Tourism and Poverty Reduction


1: Tourism Initiative Description

This proposal
aims to give a description of a





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