Silver wedding anniversary takes British couple back to heavenly Seychelles

A couple from UK has returned to what they described as “heavenly” Seychelles this week, to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. This is not just any vacation; they have returned to the island where they tied the knot 25 years ago.

Gerard and Angela Barte got married at the Reef Hotel on a bright and sunny afternoon of May 5, 1986. They took their vows under a traditional thatched gazebo, and the lovely and dashing bride was given away by the then young hotel Marketing & Sales Manager, Alain St.Ange.

Mr. St.Ange is today the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, and the couple paid him a surprise visit at his offices at Bel Ombre.
“I can still remember that day when I walked Angela, who was carrying a white umbrella, to the groom. It was a nice, simple, but very romantic wedding,” said Mr. St.Ange.

Gerard and Angela said they couldn’t have picked a better place to declare their love for each other and that since then, they had visited the islands again in 2006 and now in 2011.

“We wanted a special location for this very important moment in our lives,” said a smiling Angela, adding, “We wanted somewhere magical, romantic, unique and with plenty of sun and sea. Seychelles was all that.”

Gerard, who is French but married an English bride, said the fact that both their languages were spoken in Seychelles, made them feel a special bond with the islands, and they knew this was the place they had been looking for.

“Seychelles is beautiful and we knew we would feel at home here. People are so friendly, and we made a lot of friends,” he explained.

Upon their return to the islands in 2006, they decided to spend more days here so as to better appreciate the place and culture, and they took the occasion to renew their vows at the St. Paul’s Cathedral.

They are back now for their silver anniversary and though they are not planning anything special, they just feel they have to be in Seychelles for this milestone.

Since they are now better acquainted with the islands, they are enjoying island hopping as they visit the islands of Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue.

“We love the islands, the food, the friendly people, and everything else that makes this destination very special to us,” they said.

They noted that a lot of developments have taken place in the country, but the charm and character that makes the islands unique in all sense of the word, still remains.

The couple has a 24-year-old son and since he has never been to Seychelles, they are planning to bring him along next time they visit.

“We have visited other destinations, such as the Carribean, but Seychelles has the greatest appeal. We have sent a lot of friends to Seychelles and yes, we would be back to visit, because the experience gets better each time,” said the couple.

Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said that he was happy to have been part of the hotel management team who cared for the British Couple in 1986. “We must have done something right, because they keep coming back to Seychelles. Seychelles remains the dream location for weddings and honeymoons, and the proof of any pudding is in the eating… Gerard and Angela came, got married in paradise, and are now back to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. This speaks for itself, and we are proud to always welcome back such valued guests who hold Seychelles pictures in their most treasured photo albums,” Alain St.Ange said.

There could be more terror attacks, Morrocco warns

As the country fears for the tourism industry, Morocco’s interior minister has announced that there could be more terror attacks following last week bombing in Marrakech.

The bomb attack which killed 16 people, including 14 foreigners at a cafe in the historic Djemma el Fna square is thought to have been targeted at foreign tourists. Following the attack, Tajeb Cherkaoui has admitted there ‘is a possibility of more dangers to come’ giving way to fears for the tourism industry.

The country has been put on ‘high threat of terrorism’ alert by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and adds that ‘attacks could be indiscriminate. Anyone holidaying to Morroco has been advised to ‘maintain a high level of vigilance’. As the second largest employer in the country, after agriculture, there are fears over the future of the industry and how much of an affect this bombing will have on tourists.

Visitors numbers have grown rapidly over the last decade, and despite the recession visitor number increased by six per cent in 2009. Followed by continued growth in 2010 that saw 9.3 million people visit Morocco and the second sex and the city filmed their further increasing interest around Marrakech. However these attacks will have damaged the thriving industry, but it has yet to be seen how much damage has been done and how long it will take to rebuild trust that will bring the tourists back.