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 News - 12-Aug-2013

Mauritius Tourism – Relying On India To Beat The Recession

The Mauritian tourism industry has been hit hard by the continuing gloomy economy conditions in Europe. It has forced the country to move its reliance from Europe and focus on regions closer to home. The Mauritius Tourism Development Authority (MTPA) director, Vijaye Haulder, revealed what the country intends on doing next.

He said the organisation had many concerted attempts over the past few months to take advantage of their momentum in India. They have recently increased the number of flights to Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai under their national carrier Air Mauritius.

Mr Haulder told India's Mail Today that the number of Indian tourists visiting Mauritius has hit 55,197. What has startled many in the tourism industry is that this now makes up 17.4 per cent of all tourist arrivals in the country. This is happening in a country that has traditionally seen a monopoly by European tourists.

Since the recession though, the numbers of people enjoying Mauritius luxury holidays from Europe has plummeted. This has meant that the island nation has had to look elsewhere for tourism numbers.

Haulder said the MTPA was predicting an increase in the number of Indian tourists by 2015 to over 100,000. This would potentially push European arrivals down to an almost record low of 50 per cent of total arrivals. This would be a first in the island’s history and could indicate a significant shift to more emerging economies.

India isn't the only emerging economy the country is focusing on. It has made efforts to incorporate China into its marketing plans. Just recently, the country conducted a road show and successfully started weekly flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

The Mail Today raised concerns about the purchasing power of Indians in Mauritius. It said this was a major obstacle for people wanting to come to the country. Haulder admitted that this was a major concern within the MTPA and it wanted to take steps to rectify the issue.

The Indian rupee is currently very weak and it has a reduced purchasing power on the island; it usually costs at least four Indian rupees to make one Mauritian rupee. This makes travelling to the island more expensive for many Indians.

Haulder said their focus wasn't just on bringing as many people to the country as possible. He laid bare the strategy of the MTPA over the next twelve months. He said the MTPA wanted to encourage more middle and upper class Indians to travel. In particular, they are targeting the business markets.

They launched a new campaign to build conference centres and provide business holidays to companies, with the country wanting to become an international destination for business gatherings.

Currently, Mauritius gains eight per cent of its GDP from tourism. It is one of its main industries and gains large amounts of funding each year.

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