Mauritius’ tourism optimism slowly fading - CNBC Africa

Mauritius’ tourism optimism slowly fading

Southern Africa

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"They’re expecting 990,000 for them to achieve that and that’s looking at growth of four per cent for the rest of the year. We do have still the peak season in December coming up but it does look a bit optimistic to us. We’re expecting that the one per cent would continue for the rest of the year so we’re looking at full year tourists arrivals growing about one per cent,” said Blaine an Equity Analyst at African Alliance Securities.

The Mauritius government optimistically said it targeted one million tourist arrivals for 2013; however six months later it has only attracted 0.1 per cent visitors.

According to the latest data, almost 3,000 visitors coming through from China made it to the island and India recorded a significant declined by 5.6 per cent to 6,978 against visitors in June 2012. 

Blaine said Europeans are also shunning what used to be referred to as one of Africa's greatest destinations offering holiday destinations and luxurious beach-resorts. Interestingly, he said it is steadily gaining popularity among regional peers.  

“There’s a positive trend that we’re seeing - the absolute number of European tourists declined over time. What we’re seeing now is Africa and Asian coming to the fore. Africa is actually bigger than Asia,” he added.

Africa’s stake is about a quarter of the Mauritian market; Europe with 60 per cent and Asia is around 12 per cent.  Blaines said the country is currently positioning itself to tap into the Asian market to swell.

“What we’re seeing though is that there’s a rise in informal markets which is taking some tourists away from the established operators so that’s the ones that people can invest in,” Blaines said.

“You can see now what was announced recently that Emirates is the national carrier, it just recently put on a direct flight to Beijing that flies once a week. It’s not really an assent at the moment but the Asian tourists we’re looking to them to fill the gap with the Europe tourist and to drive growth forward.” 

Mauritius’ Ministry of Tourism and Leisure said the sector, third pillar of the economy, contributes significantly to economic growth of about 21 per cent in tourism receipts.