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The Chinese tourists provide an much needed economic boost to the small, tourism-dependent islands, but their contributions are less than the Europeans that preceded them leaving the destinations to look for new ways to attract and keep their new clientele.
Ms Xiong and her husband reflect the changing face of the multi-billion dollar tourism industry of Mauritius, Maldives and the Seychelles. Increasingly, Chinese travellers are offsetting what has been a sharp drop in European visitors to the Indian Ocean.
“The Chinese have saved tourism in the Indian Ocean,” says Kee Chong Li, a prominent politician and businessman in Mauritius who is himself of Chinese ancestry.