Mauritius tourist arrivals up 0.7% year-on-year till February
In terms of rise in tourist arrivals, Chinese tourists bucked the trend the most with a 95.9% increase in tourists to the island nation, logging in 13,537 footfalls for the two-month period. (Image: Skift)
Mauritius witnessed a slight rise of 0.7% year-on-year in tourist arrivals in the two months covering January and February 2014, with 175,316 tourists visiting the island during the period compared to 174,079 tourists in the corresponding period of 2013.
Statistics Mauritius data showed that Asia and China, in particular, appear to be powering tourism in the island nation, with the continent and the country registering a rise of 30% and 95.9% respectively at 27,036 and 13,537 tourists footfalls each.
This rise in Asian footfalls in the India Ocean region is due to the Vanilla islands’ focus on new markets in Asia to grow their tourism sectors, as Mauritius and its regional rivals, like the Seychelles islands, cannot rely on a recession-weary Europe.
According to Statistics Mauritius, tourist arrivals to the island are increasingly being propped up by a rise in tourists coming from Asia, particularly China.
In terms of rise in tourist arrivals, Chinese tourists bucked the trend the most with a 95.9% rise, followed by other Oceanian countries (comprising Australia and New Zealand) and South Korea with a rise of 58.4% and 48.5% respectively.
On the other hand, in all of Europe, Sweden was the only country which contributed a 28.6% rise in tourist arrivals to 1,363 while the continent as a whole saw a 2.4% decline in footfalls to 101,887 for the two-month period.
As for Belgium and Italy, they failed to contribute to the growth in the tourism sector, with arrivals from these European nations declining 38.4% and 28.9% respectively.
The number of tourists coming from France continued their downward trend, declining 3.1% to 50,423 arrivals in January and February 2014.
However, France continued to be the largest source market for tourists to Mauritius, contributing the maximum tourist footfalls at 28.76% of total tourist arrivals, followed by Reunion which contributed 25,911 tourists or 14.76% of all tourist arrivals.
From African countries, Mauritius welcomed 41,323 tourists for the months of January and February 2014, compared to 43,849 in the corresponding period of 2013, representing a decline of 5.8%. South Africa and Reunion both saw 6.7% dip in tourists to the island economy, at 10,348 and 25,911 arrivals respectively.
Countering the downward trend in Africa, Seychelles saw a 35.2% rise in tourists to Mauritius while the percentage of tourists from Zimbabwe also rose by 36.1%.
America, on its part, failed to bring cheer to island tourism, with a 0.9% decline in arrivals from the continent overall.
Footfalls from Brazil and other American countries decreased by 14.9% and 9.3% respectively while tourist arrivals from USA and Canada rose by 16.2% and 2.9% respectively.
To put the tourism sector in the island economy in perspective, Mauritius missed its target of 1 million mark in the tourism sector last year, ending with 993,106 tourist arrivals in all.
The tourism sector represents an important segment of the Mauritian economy and the sector has been adversely affected due to the slowdown in the European Union which is still reeling under recession.
Last year, GDP growth of a mere 0.5% was recorded across the economic bloc, with more and more European tourists cutting down on long-haul holidays.
According to the IMF, GDP growth is expected to strengthen to 1% in 2014 and 1.4% in 2015. However, the international financial body has warned that recovery in the Euro Zone will be uneven.