Seychelles does it, Reunion does it, Mauritius does it and so do a significant number of other countries which have Chinese expatriate communities and enjoy a growing number of tourist visitors from China. Is East Africa missing out on such ethnic festivals, which in the case of the Seychelles for instance has already in its second year become a landmark weekend in their annual calendar of events?
A highly fancied cultural group from Chendu performed over the last weekend in Victoria at the second edition of the Seychelles – China Day celebrations, bringing both the locals and foreign tourists to the venue. Even the upcoming Seychelles Carnival is subsequently benefitting again from a stronger Chinese presence of troupes and performers, raising the attraction of the carnival and raising visitor numbers too.
Across the Indian Ocean islands are other ethnic festivals too celebrated, and promoted and eased Visa rules including Visa waivers for Indian and Chinese citizens have gone hand in hand to drive visitor numbers from those two countries sharply up for the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
Across Eastern Africa many people of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi origin reside and work and they all celebrate major festivals, be they of religious or cultural nature, back home that is but not here. Is there not scope to raise the bar and copy the successful concepts of ethnic festivals as seen on the Indian Ocean islands?
After all, in literally every place across East Africa is the German Oktoberfest celebrated, often with authentic umptata bands, imported beer and the traditional Bavarian white sausages and sweet mustard so the example has been set and just waits to be expanded to other communities.