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AfricaMoney | October 19, 2017

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Mauritius hotel occupancy rate to fall to 61.5% in 2018 from 63.3% in 2013: PwC

Mauritius hotel occupancy rate to fall to 61.5% in 2018 from 63.3% in 2013: PwC

With several renovations and projects lined up in the industry, the number of available hotel rooms is expected to increase at a 2.9% compound annual rate to 14,250 in 2018. (Image: Mauritius attractions)

Mauritius tourism woes are set to intensify as global consulting major PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) projects that by 2018 the average hotel occupancy rate will edge down to 61.5% from 63.3% in 2013.

In the fourth edition of its Hospitality Outlook: 2014-2018 report which looks at tourism markets in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya besides Mauritius, PwC also notes that tourist arrivals in the island are expected to rise by 2.7% in 2014 and at a 3.2% compound annual rate through 2018.

The lowering of average hotel occupancy rates can be attributed to a fall on the European market by 1.5% in 2013, which is the principal tourism source market for Mauritius, even as, with several renovations and projects lined up in the industry, the number of available hotel rooms is expected to increase at a 2.9% compound annual rate to 14,250 in 2018.

France, which is the leading country with 244,752 travelers in 2013 representing 25% of all tourist arrivals to Mauritius, saw tourist footfalls plunge by 4.7% last year. Besides, travelers from Italy declined by 22.0%, Russia was down by 23.3% and Spain declined by 10.9%.

Conversely, United Kingdom recorded the largest gain at 11.8%, followed by Germany at 9.7% and finally, mid-single digit increases were recorded in Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland.

Visitors from Asia Pacific rose by 24.3% and visitors from China increased by 100.7%, in large part because of the introduction of direct flights by Air Mauritius to Shanghai and Beijing.

The next largest source of tourists is Africa, led by Réunion Island and South Africa.

According to the report, hotel room revenue in Mauritius is expected to grow at a 4.6% compound annual rate to 2018 after a decrease of 8.7% in 2013 due to a decline in room rates.

In addition, stay unit nights for the forecast period as a whole is expected to rise from 2.86 million in 2013 to 3.2 million in 2018, which is a 2.3% compound annual increase.

Mauritius is principally a resort market with five-star hotels contributing a significant component of available rooms and total spending and is affected more by international global economic conditions through its impact on disposable income.

It counts as its main rivals other Indian Ocean tourism majors such as Sri Lanka, Maldives and Seychelles, where tourist arrivals were up by 26.7%, 16.6% and 10.7% respectively, against only 2.9% in Mauritius in 2013.

The report forecast that competition from these countries may be expected to partially offset the positive impact of an improving global economy and growth in seating capacity, where local operators are expecting a further 100,000 seat increase in airlines in 2014.

Coming to Nigeria, it is principally a business destination with relatively little holiday tourism and will be the fastest-growing market over the next five years with a projected 22.6% compound annual gain.

Its growth is expected to be facilitated by an increase in available rooms and large gains in stay unit nights fuelled by a booming economy. However, recent terrorist activity in the country may negatively impact future prospects.

South Africa, which is a mix of business and holiday travelers and offers a wide range of hotel classes and accommodation, is expected to see tourism expand at a 10.7% compound annual rate overall and by 11.2% compounded annually for hotels.

The average hotel room in Mauritius costs Euro 170 (approximately Rs 7,010.22); which is 2.7 times higher than the average rate in South Africa and 28% higher than South Africa`s average five-star room rate.

Growth in room rates will be the principal driver in South Africa, aided by the positive impact of the depreciating rand on the number of foreign visitors and by growth in real terms following a period of low rate increases.

Finally, Kenya attracts eco-tourists and offers safaris and beaches, but is currently challenged by terrorism that is discouraging visitors. It will be the slowest growing of the four countries with a projected 2.5% increase, hurt by ongoing terrorism that will lead to short-term and mid-term declines.

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