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AfricaMoney | August 23, 2017

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Mauritius devises new strategic plan to boost image as tourist destination

Mauritius devises new strategic plan to boost image as tourist destination

Mauritius Tourism Minister Michael Sik Yuen highlighted that the Chinese perceive Mauritius as a preferred destination for newlyweds and golfers, with the film industry also homing in on the island for its exotic locales. (Image: Mashada)

Mauritius’ tourism sector is poised for far-reaching changes to boost the island’s image as a tourist destination, Minister of Tourism, Michael Sik Yuen, announced recently.

Michael Sik Yuen asserted that the contribution of the tourism industry to socioeconomic development is high, and as on date, the sector contributes 6.9% of the GDP and supports the creation of approximately 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Besides, the Tourism Minister announced that his ministry will make use of expert services to create a new strategic plan for the sector for the period 2016-2020.

Some measures announced by Minister Sik Yuen, which will help to reinvigorate the tourism sector, are to plug gaps in current strategic policies, set up a Strategic Framework, and have recourse to institutional reforms.

Concerning emerging markets, Michael Sik Yuen highlighted that the Chinese perceive Mauritius as a preferred destination for newlyweds and golfers, with the film industry also homing in on the island for its exotic locales.

It may be noted that for the period January to May 2014, the island received 430,252 footfalls with 26,965 tourist arrivals hailing from China.

As regards India, Mauritius’ received 25,460 tourists from the country and is particularly targeting event tourism (or the MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions – segment) to attract more Indians to the island nation.

The minister mentioned that the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) is presently carrying out a strategy targeting African tourists coming from countries known for strong economic growth such as Kenya, Malawi, Gabon, Namibia and Nigeria.

“This strategy, combined with exploiting new markets such as the Scandinavian countries and Gulf Council Countries, will accelerate the process of diversification of our existing markets,” he concluded.

However, even as the image of Mauritius as a tourism destination is sought to be boosted, ethical tourism in the island economy is reeling under the shadow of the country’s leading role in supplying monkeys to the global research industry.

Just this week, the BUAV Save our Monkeys campaign has launched a tourism awareness project addressing the plight of the long-tailed macaque in Mauritius.

The campaigning organisation has released an eye-catching visual with the byline ‘Mauritius – it’s no holiday for the monkeys’ and has written to major travel and tour operators requesting they make representation to the Mauritius government, as well as the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA).

Established in 1898, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) is the world’s leading single-issue organisation campaigning against animal experiments.

Mauritius exports up to 10,000 monkeys a year to laboratories around the world and is the world’s second largest exporter of monkeys, according to data compiled by the BUAV under its Save our Monkeys project.

As ethical tourism is becoming more important to holidaymakers and the tourist industry, and can be a key concern for travellers when choosing a holiday location, Mauritius must say no to monkey business as it revamps its overall image as a tourism destination of choice.

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