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 News - 23-Jul-2013

Mauritius Tourism – Country Urged To Look Internationally


Mauritius struggled to gain a foothold in the tourism industry in 2012. The country registered a slight increase in tourist arrivals but completely missed their target of one million tourists. The same target set for the end of 2013 looks more manageable but still comes with warnings.


A chartered accountant for DHL, Rahman Bholash, said he left the country during the 1980s when it was largely dependent on sugar cane and the tourism industry was still in its infancy. He said one of the main problems with the country was the lack of ability to look outwards.


Mauritius currently has a population of 1.2 million and industries such as those centred on Mauritius luxury holidays and everything surrounding the tourism industry targets the local population. From a financial standpoint, this is not the right way to strategize.


Bholash said that such a small population could not possibly support the country’s big ambitions. It has to look abroad and focus on the international market instead of its domestic population.


The Maldives is an example of a country that focuses entirely on tourism. Ninety per cent of that country’s GDP comes from revenues brought in by its tourism industry. It has focused on the international market and now has a higher level of tourism revenue than Mauritius.


If this country had not had focussed on the international market, it could not have supported itself and would soon have fallen into economic meltdown.


Mauritius, otherwise known as the Jewel of the Indian Ocean, has sufficiently diversified itself so it does not have to rely that much on its tourism. The country is active in textiles, manufacturing, and the financial services industries.


Bholash further discussed the potential for interlinking these industries with its tourism strategy. The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) should attempt to attract more companies to the country for meetings, conferences, and company holidays.


Officials seem to be following this line of thought due to its recent MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) campaign. They displayed the facilities as part of their recent road shows in China and Australia. By attempting to attract more than the traditional traveller, the country can boost its share of the Indian Ocean region’s tourism trade.


One area where DHL thinks Mauritius needs to improve on is its infrastructure. It has to continue making great leaps to compete with more developed nations. It has successfully created a transport network with semi-regular flight links to countries all over the world. Now it should focus on enhancing these links and networks and going green.


The country recently launched a green campaign to both preserve its natural beauty and drive holiday costs down. It started this by installing solar panels on many of the country’s major buildings. The country receives regular sunshine so this should generate significant levels of power.


It also gives foreign investors the chance to get involved on this and other projects.


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