Tourism in Mauritius has achieved a remarkable milestone, surpassing the ambitious two-million tourist arrivals target set for the period between October 2021 and September 2023. This achievement marks a significant step in the island nation’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Louis Steven Obeegadoo, announced this extraordinary feat during a recent press conference at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel in Port-Louis. He revealed that tourist arrivals not only met but exceeded the set target, showcasing the resilience and dynamism of Mauritius’s tourism sector.
Obeegadoo further highlighted that tourism had contributed approximately 55% of Mauritius’s economic growth during this period, solidifying its position as a vital engine driving the nation’s post-pandemic recovery. The earnings from tourism from January to July 2023 alone amounted to over MUR48 billion (€1bn), a significant increase compared to MUR45 billion (€950m) for the same period in 2019.
Investment and Growth
The tourism sector’s success has also led to notable developments within Mauritius. Obeegadoo mentioned that four new hotels have been established since the reopening of the country’s borders. Additionally, 19 projects with a total investment value of MUR21.3 billion (€450m) have received approval from the Economic Development Board.
Recognizing the importance of various aspects, Obeegadoo outlined key focus areas for further enhancing the sector:
- Marketing Strategies
- Improved Air Connectivity
- Human Resource Development
- Diversification of Tourism Offerings
Exploring New Markets
Obeegadoo stressed that Mauritius aims to consolidate its existing tourist markets, including France, Réunion, Italy, South Africa, and Germany. Simultaneously, the country is actively exploring new potential markets, such as India, China, northern and eastern Europe, and the Persian Gulf, to diversify its sources of tourists.
Efforts are also underway to address recent challenges, such as the cancellation of scheduled flights by Air Belgium. The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority is in negotiations with airlines like Air France and Turkish Airlines to compensate for the loss of tourist seats. Encouragingly, Air Mauritius is increasing its flights to major destinations, including London, Delhi, Perth, and Cape Town. Other airlines like Vistara, Kenya Airways, Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, and Air Austral are also ramping up their operations to and from Mauritius.
Fostering Employment and Diversification
Obeegadoo highlighted the need for both foreign and domestic labor to support the growing tourism industry. The government is finalizing a new approach in collaboration with the private sector to attract more foreign workers. Simultaneously, there is a concerted effort to encourage Mauritian citizens, particularly the youth, to explore employment opportunities within the tourism sector.
As part of a broader diversification strategy, the Minister emphasized the development of cultural tourism and medical and wellness tourism. These initiatives aim to offer tourists diverse and enriching experiences, further solidifying Mauritius as a top-tier destination.
Towards a Sustainable Future
In conclusion, Minister Obeegadoo reaffirmed the government’s commitment to building an inclusive, sustainable, green, and resilient tourism sector. To guide this vision, a comprehensive 10-year blueprint for the future of the tourism sector is currently under review and will be unveiled at the beginning of the next year.
Mauritius’s exceptional achievement in exceeding its post-COVID tourism targets is not only a testament to its resilience but also a promising sign of a bright future for the nation’s tourism industry.