Didier Robert, the President of the Regional Council of La Reunion Island, has been working tirelessly to position the mid-ocean island of La Reunion on the tourism map. The island is next door to Mauritius, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Mayotte, and Comoros, with natural attractions that include an active volcano and mountains described as the “Switzerland of the Indian Ocean.” But La Reunion’s tourism industry had been stuck with only metropolitan France as its main and only source market, while the other islands of the Indian Ocean opened their doors to the big wide world of tourism.
This was the situation President Didier Robert inherited when he came to office a few years ago as the new President of the Regional Council of La Reunion.
The La Reunion President of the island’s Regional Council knew of the challenges facing his island that was bound by the rules and laws of France as they remain a French territory. The challenges included the visa regulations of Europe which complicated lives of non-Europeans wanting to visit La Reunion Island. Tourists preferred to visit the other neighboring islands where no visa complications existed. Air access was another major challenge as all decisions were taken from Paris for the mid-Indian Ocean island.
These challenges pushed Didier Robert to play a leadership role in the re-launching of tourism for his La Reunion Island. He was a founding member of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization and became a committed partner working alongside Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mayotte, the Comoros, and Maldives for the development of the tourism industry of the region.
Last week, Didier Robert’s efforts started to reap the benefits for La Reunion Island as he was elected to the position of President of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands. This will help get La Reunion more visible and help it become relevant in the world of tourism. “I am succeeding in my vision for the tourism industry of La Reunion island. What I am doing will help the islanders of La Reunion when the tourism industry of the island grows,” said Didier Robert after his election to the position of President of the Vanilla Islands.
Didier Robert replaces Alain, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who headed the Regional Organization for two consecutive mandates.