Tourist Mauritius losing ground to similar destinations
Many destinations are struggling as a result of the world’s financial meltdown and the euro crisis in Europe; the tropical islands of Mauritius are no exception. In comparison with similar destinations such as the Seychelles, Réunion and the Maldives, Mauritius performed worse in terms of growth in visitor numbers over the review period. Mauritius is a high-end destination and the decreasing purchasing power of European travellers has affected the country more than similar, cheaper destinations.
Visitors from core European countries decrease
Diversification into emerging source markets is progressing slowly in Mauritius compared to similar destinations and the continued financial instability in Europe has therefore hurt the country considerably, as Europe is the main source of visitors. Arrivals from some European source markets declined in 2012, including Germany and the UK. Wary of its reliance on Europe, Mauritius is increasingly looking to new markets in Asia to drive growth in tourism, but this has so far failed to reverse the tide.
Hotels industry remains stagnant
The hotels industry in Mauritius has long been struggling with structural problems, large debt and dated marketing and booking tools. Although 2012 was a year in which some positive strides were noted and hotels overall saw both value and volume growth, the fact that the Mauritius hotels industry needs revitalising is evident.
The Indian connection
India was the fastest growing source country for arrivals in 2012, with visitors making 62,000 trips. The increase in arrivals was driven by India’s strong economic growth, even during the global recession, cultural links and the historical popularity of Mauritius as a tourist destination. Mauritius has a large Indian population and ties between the two countries are strong. An increase in the number of flights to India has also added to the overall strong growth in Indian travellers to Mauritius, with daily flights by Air Mauritius to Delhi and Mumbai. Other strongly emerging source markets include China, United Arab Emirates and Russia, with the largest increase in flights being to countries in Asia Pacific. Weekly flights to Shanghai have been initiated by Air Mauritius as well as to Beijing.
Mauritius positioning itself as Africa’s financial, business and trading hub
Already known as “the Singapore of Africa”, Mauritius was ranked by the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2011” report as the easiest place to do business in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 20th globally among 183 economies.
Over 2010-2020, the government is investing MUR250.0 billion in infrastructure, aiming to transform the country into a world-class, tax-free shopping, business and leisure destination.
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