Development must not jeopardize our survival. As an island we are very vulnerable to the risks associated with natural disasters. It is therefore essential that we review the way we operate and even our way of living if we want sustainable development.
This statement was made by the Minister of Tourism, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard, on 7 February 2020, at the opening of Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas at Le Chaland. Nestled on Le Chaland Beach along the south-eastern coast of Mauritius, the 164-room Anantara Iko Mauritius Resort & Villas has been developed in partnership with Currimjee Jeewanjee & Co.
The Tourism Minister indicated that his Ministry will come forward with a series of measures to better adapt our tourism sector to climate change. He also appealed to all the industry partners to join in the efforts for a green and sustainable industry. In a bid to transform Mauritius into a cultural and wellness tourist destination, he highlighted that the ministry of Tourism will enhance its product portfolio by laying more emphasis on the Mauritian culture and the wellness industry.
He congratulated the promoters of the resort for leaving a 100-metre buffer zone between the buildings and the coast when the current legislation requires only a 30-metre buffer zone. This measure, he said, will cause less pressure on the beach and the marine park and thus preserve the beauty of the site. He also acknowledged that the local community has been taken care of through the installation of facilities on the beach of La Cambuse, and also the construction of an access road.
Mr Lesjongard further underlined the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so as to mitigate the impacts of climate change. He added that several measures are being adopted by other hotel groups in order to be more eco-responsible. The Anantara Group establishments, he pointed out, are certified "Green Growth " and this demonstrates the seriousness and willingness of the group in its vision to be respectful of the environment and sustainable development.
Speaking about the novel Coronavirus, Minister Lesjongard stated that because of China's trade and economic ties with the world, the effects of the coronavirus are manifold adding that global tourism is also suffering.
He underlined that Government has taken health measures and steps to limit the risks associated with the coronavirus in Mauritius. Since flights from China and Hong Kong have been suspended, there will be a drop in tourist arrivals which will be a big loss of revenue for the country, he added. However, he expressed confidence that the Mauritian mindset will allow the country to get back on track. Our people, our nation has always been able to meet the challenges because of our solidarity and our working culture, he said.
Mr Lesjongard also underlined the various measures taken to increase tourist arrivals, namely price promotion currently underway on the Reunion and South Africa. Markets; digital campaigns launched in emerging markets to stimulate the Easter holidays and Ramadan; and consolidation of European markets.