Mauritius is a paradise for leisure travellers and holidaymakers across the world. Visitors typically troop into this beautiful Island nation, strategically located in the middle of the turquoise Indian Ocean, to enjoy the scenery, beaches, and the climate of the tropics.
European tourists have, for ages, been flooding the exotic island in the Indian Ocean. But the economic slowdown has changed the dynamics of the one-time booming tourism industry. In response, the country is now looking to attract leisure travellers from emerging markets such as China, India, and the Middle East.
Mauritius matches South Africa in terms of percentage of Asian visitors thronging the continent. Standing at 14%, the island nation attracts more visitors than mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar combined. That is indeed a testimony to the luxurious bliss travellers enjoy on the island.
The Mauritius tourism industry accounts for almost 7 per cent of the nation’s economy, with employment for over 60,000 people. The industry has been heavily dependent on the European market for tourists from countries such as France, the United Kingdom, and Germany, to mention a few.
As patronage from Europe continues to dwindle, business in the hospitality sector has been bearing the brunt, which resulted in an increased and unhealthy competition among hotels on the Island. With nearly less than two-thirds full and a rising cost, the sector has experienced the perfect squeeze.
The Mauritian authorities have signed agreements with the Chinese government to add routes from China, given that emerging markets like China with a grand middle-class population boasting a huge spending power portend huge potentials. Tourists from China can now access Mauritius without a visa.
A Chinese tourist on a one-week holiday with her husband said, “Mauritius is very beautiful, and Chinese who come here do not need to get a visa. So we can travel down very easily. Initially, we wanted to go to Europe, but it takes about a month to process the visa.”