Mauritius tourism revenues up 2.4% in first half on rising tide of Chinese visitors
Not only have revenues swelled up, but tourist numbers have also taken the high tide, rising 4% to 490,697, driven by a growth of 86.9 percent in visitors from China, Statistics Mauritius said. (Image: Accidental Travel Writer)
A flood of visitors from China to the shores of Mauritius has propelled tourism revenues to Rs 22.57 billion in the first half of 2014, as per Bank of Mauritius estimates, representing a rise of 2.4% over the corresponding period last year.
Moreover, not only have revenues swelled up, but tourist numbers have also taken the high tide, rising 4% to 490,697, driven by a growth of 86.9 percent in visitors from China, Statistics Mauritius said.
However, the statistics office noted that tourism earnings per tourist declined by 1.6% from Rs 46,760 to Rs 46,010 due to a higher increase in the number of tourists at 4%.
Besides Mauritius, other Indian Ocean islands too, including Maldives and Seychelles, have been wooing Chinese tourists in recent years.
It is hoped that the rising tide of Chinese tourists will make up for the drying stream of visitors from Europe and US, as the countries from these regions are slowly and painfully emerging from the global financial crisis.
Accordingly, there was barely a 0.8% rise in tourists to the island from Europe, which inched up to 266,295 in the first six months of this year, but continued to comprise more than half the total visitors to the island economy in the first six months of the year.
Data also showed that in spite of a decrease of 4.3%, France remained the top tourist generating country and contributed 24.2% of all tourist arrivals in the first half of 2014.
Comparing the island to rival destinations in the Indian Ocean, against the 4% increase in tourist arrivals registered by Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Maldives registered double-digit growth rates of 24.6% and 11.1% respectively while Seychelles experienced a 1.5% dip.
Interestingly, an insight shed by the official tourism report for Mauritius is that cruise-based tourism is on the rise in the island economy.
Accordingly, official data showed that in the first semester of 2014, 13 cruise ships arrived in the country and carried some 19,702 cruise travellers made up of 1,927 tourists, 10,889 excursionists and 6,886 crew members.
Statistics Mauritius noted that there were as many as 114 licensed hotels in Mauritius during the period with 105 in operation, of which there were 51 ‘large’ hotels – well-established beach hotels with more than 80 rooms.
These ‘large’ hotels represent 49% of all licensed hotels in operation but make up 76% of both total room capacity and total bed places, which comes to 12,307 rooms with 25,308 bed places across the 105 operating hotels.
The room occupancy rate rose from 60 percent in the first half of 2013 to 62 percent this year while the bed occupancy rate was 56%, higher than 54% in the same period of 2013.
On employment in the tourism sector, the statistics office commented that latest available data for March 2013 indicates that employment in the sector decreased marginally by 0.1% to 28,356.
The report also noted that data for the tourism sector, as obtained from the Survey of Employment and Earnings, relates to employment in restaurants, hotels and, travel and tourism establishments with 10 or more workers.
On future outlook, the statistics office said it expected arrivals for 2014 to increase by 3.7% to 1,030,000 and earnings to rise by 9.7 percent to Rs 44.50 billion, maintaining the targets declared earlier this year.