China Southern Airlines to land first flight in Mauritius on June 28
The Mauritian tourism ministry said on Monday in Port Louis that the application submitted to the Mauritian government by China Southern Airlines was approved at the Council of Ministers held Friday. (Image: Wikipedia)
Mauritius tourism is finding increased traction with Chinese visitors, and, with the first flight of China Southern Airlines expected in Mauritius on June 28, it appears that Chinese airlines are acknowledging heightened tourist interest in the island economy.
The Mauritian tourism ministry said on Monday in Port Louis that the application submitted to the Mauritian government by China Southern Airlines was approved at the Council of Ministers held Friday.
Earlier last month, the airlines detailed the proposal to operate direct flights to Mauritius, given the growth of Chinese travelers to Mauritius.
The proposal was tabled at a meeting between the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) on May 12.
A delegation of businessmen from the Chinese tourism sector, led by CNTA’s Vice-president Wang Zhifa, were in Mauritius for a working session with Mauritius Tourism Minister Michael Sik Yuen and other stakeholders in the Mauritian tourism segment.
On the occasion, Wang had announced that a new flight to Mauritius will be inaugurated on June 27, 2014 from China if the request of China Southern Airlines was approved by the concerned officials in charge in Mauritius.
He had also mentioned that, to begin with, there would be a flight every Friday and the frequency would increase thereafter according to market demand.
The approval of its application by the Mauritius government makes China Southern Airlines officially the first international airline to ply between Mauritius and China.
In addition, the flight will provide possibilities to Mauritians and Chinese opting for a transit via Hong-Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Dubai.
Besides, Mauritius national carrier, Air Mauritius, has eight flights per week to China and plans to add another direct flight to Beijing next month.
With the implementation of the diversification strategy to new tourism markets covering Asian economies in particular, the number of tourists from China has increased dramatically over the last three years.
According to Statistics Mauritius, in the year till date from January to May, a whopping 26,965 Chinese came to Mauritius, representing a 90 percent increase over the corresponding 5 months last year.
In 2013, the arrival of 41, 913 Chinese tourists was recorded with an increase of 100.7 percent. In 2012, 20,885 Chinese visited Mauritius, representing an increase of 38 percent over the 15,133 Chinese tourists who came to Mauritius in 2011.
According to the tourism ministry, Mauritius is targeting to double arrivals from the Chinese market in 2014, to reach 80,000.