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AfricaMoney | August 22, 2017

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Mauritius Jan to Sept tourist arrivals up 2.8%

Mauritius Jan to Sept tourist arrivals up 2.8%

Asian tourists bailed out the Mauritius hospitality industry as a 29 percent rise in the number of visitors from Asia offset a 2.3 percent fall in arrivals from Europe (Image: Jake Johnson / Flickr

Asian tourists bailed out the Mauritius hospitality industry as a 29 percent rise to 98,550 in the number of visitors from Asia to the island nation offset a 2.3 percent fall in arrivals from Europe to 374,540. Africa, with a 2.9 percent growth to 195,213 visitors, also fuelled the overall positive trend.

Europe, and particularly France, once a major contributor to tourists bound for the Indian Ocean Island, have cut down on the number of long-haul holidays, in view of a hard-hitting economic recession and a slower-than-expected recovery.

However, Europe still contributes over 50% of visitors to Mauritius across all blocs, followed by Africa at a distant 28% with Asia an even remoter third at 14%.

So, in order to escape excessive reliance on a struggling Europe, the jewels of the Indian Ocean – Mauritius, Maldives and Seychelles – are now increasingly looking at diversifying their tourist base.

And, the strategy to focus on Asia is reaping rich dividends for Mauritius as arrivals from China jumped a whopping 97.1 percent to 30,419 over the nine month period from January to September. Arrivals from India, comprising the largest bloc from Asia, rose 7.2 percent to 43,376 in the same period. It may be noted that Indian tourists have indicted Asian destinations as preferred holiday options due to a rising prices amid a slower growth. Mauritius, once among the top 3 destinations for Indian tourists, is now being increasing replaced by the more proximate island nation of Singapore.

September particularly witnessed a spurt of tourists bound for the island nation as total arrivals rose by 8.4 percent to 71,951 in the last month alone.

Last month, arrivals from Europe rose barely 3 percent to 38,317 even as Asian tourists showed a 34.1 percent rise to 10,222.

The $10 billion economy of Mauritius, famed for its beautiful beaches, rich corals and verdant surroundings, sees around 8% contribution from the tourism sector.

But, all is not well for the tourism industry, which was initially expected to hit the one million mark this year. However, the government has been forced to steadily revise targets downwards, first in May to 990,000 and then in August to 980,000, in view of Europe’s slower-than-expected recovery from a deep recession.

However, it may be noted that even this revised target augurs well for the island nation, representing a growth of 1.5 percent over last year when tourist arrivals rose just 0.1 percent to 965,441.

Source: Statistics Mauritius

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