International Festival of Wellbeing
Seychelles Mind body Spirit Festival – International Festival of Wellbeing - 17.02.2012
What’s in it for Seychelles?
With the forthcoming launch of Seychelles’ very first Mind Body Spirit festival in June, the following article looks at the benefits Seychelles stands to gain from the event.
David Clarke and wife, Marsha Clarke, made their first visit to Seychelles eight years ago and developed a great passion for its islands. They proceeded to create a website marketing the destination which evolved into a tour operator business for holidays to the Seychelles. For two years however, they have been working on the Seychelles Mind Body Spirit Festival, a project which they have dreamt about for a while now.
During a nine-day visit facilitated by Creole Travel Services and the Seychelles Tourism Board, many in Seychelles have had the chance to meet Mr Clarke, who made this visit especially to meet members of the community who may have an interest in getting involved in the festival programme.
With the festival’s broad objective being to use the natural beauty of Seychelles as a backdrop to any activity which promotes a “clear mind, strong body and rejuvenated spirit”, the opportunities to feature in the programme are numerous.
Mr Clarke was matter-of-fact in his explanation of the benefits to local establishments; it is a chance for venue-providers, service-providers as well as retailers in Seychelles to get creative and find a new way of increasing their income. This is all the more true given that the festival has no physical boundaries and that the more islands which feature in the programme, the better.
Activities to be held during the festival range from yoga, pilates, reiki, tai chi, meditation, massage, art exhibitions, art workshops, musical performances and seminars.
One of the many examples Mr Clarke uses to explain a possible scenario of involvement in the festival is the case of a hotel with a pleasant setting such as a balcony with a view or a luscious garden with a lawn. The festival is an opportunity to link up with a local partner to agree on a date, a time and tariff for an organised yoga session, painting lesson, music or dance workshop by a local artist. Once this is set, the collaborators pay a fee to be part of the festival program, which will be the main marketing tool, marketing the festival and its activities to the international community. The collaborators would then earn the full amount they charge to the attendees.
Individuals would pay 50 euros (or R900) to be part of the programme, and hotel establishments would pay the equivalent of one night’s stay at their hotel. Fees for other organisations would also work in proportion to their rates. Mr Clarke explained that as this is a first-time event, it is a matter of participants finding out for themselves how to best use the festival as a tool.
Other organisations which are already operating within the wellness sphere such as the Bamboo Centre at Beau Vallon, Everglow at Sans Souci and Nature Seychelles at Roche Caiman are other natural venues for the festival’s activities. The National Botanical Gardens and other similar sites of natural beauty with flat space in Seychelles are equally suitable locations for festival activities.
With time, the festival has the potential to attract very big names in the wellness world and consequently attract their followers; seminars and workshops on the wellbeing of the mind, body and spirit are highly sought-after by many successful business people who lead stressful lives.
Mr Clarke perceives Seychelles to be an ideal getaway location for such individuals once the framework needed to provide them with the stress relief they seek is established.
Mr and Mrs Clarke also envisage the festival period as an opportunity for Seychellois children to learn about methods of clearing the mind, strengthening the body and rejuvenating their spirit through well-proven practices in the wellness arena.
Mrs Clarke has in fact set up a programme in England which is part of several school curriculums. The programme not only helps to calm down children in order to create the optimal atmosphere for learning but has the potential to contribute to anti-drugs education and general healthy living. Mr Clarke met a number of school representatives during his visit who look forward to the possibility of a complementary session with Mrs Clarke and other contributors who have already expressed a desire to give their skills during the festival.
Mr Clarke made contact with numerous hotel establishments on Mahe, Praslin and La Digiue, yoga centres, the National Arts Council, Senpa, and the National Botanical Gardens which have expressed interest in the festival.
The bottom line is that the Seychelles Mind Body Spirit Festival -- The International Festival of Wellbeing is a huge opportunity for the Seychelles Islands to take the crown for being known as the natural haven for rejuvenating the mind, body and spirit, and for the local community to seize the economic opportunity that this presents.
For further information please see The Festival website on www.seychellesmindbodyspirit.com or contact the Seychelles Tourism Board.