Minister Pillay on working visit to Hong Kong, Macau
At the invitation of Seychelles' Regional Trade Commissioner Sidney To, the Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Patrick Pillay recently visited Hong Kong and Macau, where a new Seychelles Trade Commission office was officially opened on February 22 in his presence.
In both cities Minister Pillay joined with potential investors. During his February 21 - 25 working visit, Minister Pillay met with senior executives from the Government of the Macau Special Administrative Region, Hong-Kong and Macau benefiting from a specific status in the context of the "One Nation, Two Systems" formula applied by China.
With a view to promoting Seychelles as a tourist destination for Macau residents - who hold a different passport than citizens from mainland China - an agreement was signed with local authorities, this being followed by a press conference attended by all local media and during which Minister Pillay presented Seychelles' economy, in particular the tourism & fisheries sectors as well as the new business opportunities available in the aftermath of President James Michel's State Visit to China early November last year and President Hu Jintao's State Visit to Seychelles on February 9-10, 2007.
With a population of 450.000, a total land area of 21 km2, two official languages (which are Cantonese and Portuguese), Macau became a Special Administrative Region in 1999, enjoying a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.
Today, Macau has a prosperous economy featuring four pillar sectors, tourism and gambling - it has overcome Las Vegas in terms of revenues from its casinos - export processing (mainly textiles and garments), banking, and construction and real estate. Minister Pillay was accompanied on his visit by Ambassador Philippe Le Gall.