SEYCHELLES EXCEPTION CHAMPIONED AT WORLD EXPO 2010
Seychelles pavilion occupies 220 square meters and is located right in the center of the Africa joint pavilion, at the crossroad of the two main flows of visitors and next to the pavilion stage.
Its eye-catching design, absolutely unique in the World Expo, combines a great number of artificial palm leaves on which details of renowned artist Michael Adams’ superb paintings have been reproduced. These leaves give visitors the impression they are entering a tropical forest, and the paintings inspire them to experience the colours, beauty and life of the people of Seychelles.
The pavilion focuses on the harmonious balance existing in Seychelles between Man and Nature, and the decades of efforts of the Government and NGOs to develop, in a sustainable way, the country’s economic and social resources, while protecting the environment and preserving cultural identity.
The Seychelles pavilion projects a dynamic image that smoothly bring visitors to realize how fragile such harmonious balance remain and how important it is to adopt pro-active individual and collective attitudes when facing the challenges of globalization and climate change in particular.
The pavilion has a sand-like border line giving a feeling of unexplored shore and a series of rocks in stainless steel and make-believe granite in which screens have been fixed to broadcast images and videos of Seychelles habitat, flora and fauna, in particular giant tortoises, Seychelles having offered a pair of tortoises to the World Expo last year.
A 360° screen on top of the pavilion central pillar shows from 10am to 10pm everyday promotional material provided by the Seychelles Tourism Board; giving visitors a better idea of Seychelles competitive advantages when it comes to the country’s exceptional natural beauty and second-to-none Creole hospitality and culture.
A lot of attention has been paid to the special effects on the leaves and rocks, and is created by a sophisticated set of lights, the Africa pavilion’s lights on top of Seychelles’ pavilion being switched off all day long to rely exclusively on this sophisticated exclusive lighting system that contributes a lot to the impression of visiting “another world” expressed by most visitors.
Large posters of the Vallée de Mai and several islands add to the impact produced by the pavilion that also showcases in separate cabinets the female nut and male inflorescence of the Coco de Mer, as well as models of boats by reputed craftsman Jean Louis Marchesseau, and a series of books on Seychelles, including the one recently written by Dr. Frauke Fleischer-Dogley on the Coco de Mer.
The Embassy in Beijing has been working on this pavilion during the last two years and special importance has been given to the promotional material in Chinese as 95% of the 20,000 to 60,000 visitors having a look at Seychelles pavilion every day are Chinese.
President James Michel launched on May 1 the 2010 Chinese-English version of “Seychelles Business and Leisure Guide” (Daniella Payet and Laurent Alis) at the opening of the pavilion. The guide has been complemented with leaflets and brochures focusing on Seychelles as the next tourism destination on the Chinese outbound tourism market and giving all necessary information on Seychelles travel agents and tour operators, as a follow up of last year tourism seminar held in Being in October.
Detailed information is also available on Seychelles financial products and growing popularity as a regional financial centre, to capitalize on the impact of the international finances services seminar held also in Beijing earlier in 2010.
Photographs by Nicholas Shamlaye, art works by Emmanuel d’Offay, Antonio Filippin and Leon Radegonde, temporary sub-theme exhibitions by Nigel Henry on Victoria’s market, in line with the Expo theme : Better city better life, and Gilbert Pool who selected a series of portraits on the sub theme “better city, better life, better people” also form part of the contribution of Seychelles to the Africa pavilion success.
Last but not the least, the venue of the traditional music and dance group ZEZ around June 18 – for the National Day celebrations during the World Expo – is expected to attract a considerable attention from the Chinese audiences that demonstrate a deep and friendly curiosity for Africa and the Indian Ocean.
STB, the Department of Environment and National Arts Council have significantly helped the Embassy and its Service provider and pavilion designer UNIQUE to finalize a credible and appealing vision of what Seychelles has to offer in terms of coexistence of traditional way of life and modern development demands.
Two Seychellois pavilion assistants, Marie-Paule Lesperance and Genevieve Leopold, as well as the three Shanghai-based Seychellois students, Steven Servina, Collin Barbier and Jean-Luc Lai-Lam, are helping Ambassador for Seychelles to China and Expo Commissioner Philippe Le Gall and his supporting Chinese team to keep the pavilion alive 12 hrs a day during the next 180 days of the Expo. Arrangements are being made to welcome more Seychellois delegations, including Seychellois tourism professionals, during the next 6 months.