Tourist arrivals have exceeded the set target of two million since the opening of the frontiers following the COVID-19 pandemic from October 2021 to September 2023.
The Acting Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Minister of Tourism, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo, provided the information, this afternoon, during a press conference held at Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel in Port-Louis.
He indicated that the total tourism earnings from January to July 2023 amounts to more than Rs 48 billion in comparison to Rs 45 billion for the same period in 2019, which according to him, is a significant proof of the reinforced dynamism of the sector.
Tourism, he observed, contributes to around 55% of Mauritius's economic growth and is a primary engine that has helped the country to thrive in its recovery process post COVID-19. Mauritius is a unique touristic destination and has specific characteristics that cannot be compared to other countries such as Maldives and Seychelles, he said. "We have to consider the fact that Mauritius closed its frontiers in 2020 till 2021 as a means to protect the population from the outbreaks of the pandemic", he added.
Despite the situation, he stressed that tourism has managed to emerge as a resilient and sustainable sector. In fact, four new hotels have been set since the opening of the frontiers, he indicated, adding that 19 projects to the tune of Rs 21.3 billion have already been approved by the Economic Development Board. He informed that key areas in terms of marketing, air connectivity, human resource, and diversification have been identified to further boost the sector.
The Acting Prime Minister pointed out that Mauritius will consolidate its existing tourist markets such as France, Reunion Island, Italy, South Africa and Germany, and will explore potential markets like India, China, Northern and Eastern Europe and Persian Gulf.
As regards air connectivity, he remarked that Belgium Airways has been severely affected by the impacts of the pandemic and will concentrate mainly on cargo flights. He indicated that the Mauritian Tourism Promotion Authority is in negotiation with other airlines such as Air France and Turkish Airways to compensate for the loss of seats for tourists. However, he rejoiced that Air Mauritius is increasing its number of flights to London, Delhi, Perth and Cape Town. Other airlines such as Vistara, Kenya Airways, Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines and Air Austral are also increasing the number of flights to and fro Mauritius.
Government, stated the Acting Prime Minister, is finalising a new approach with the private sector for more foreign labour. However, he underlined that it is also important to attract Mauritians and especially the youth to take up employment opportunities in the tourism sector.
With regard to diversification, he highlighted the need to further develop cultural tourism and medical and wellness tourism to expand touristic experience and activities. Government, he emphasised, is working towards building an inclusive, sustainable, green and resilient tourism sector. In this endeavour, the 10-year blueprint for the future of the tourism sector, is being reviewed and will be presented at the beginning of next year.