Skift Take

Mauritius and its rivals in the Seychelles and the Maldives have a precarious, arms-race-style tourism based upon long-haul flights from Europe and a winner-takes-all mentality. As soon as the next new spot comes along they'll all be in the same boat.

Unfavorable market conditions in the main producer markets of France, Italy, the UK, and Germany were cited as reasons for the flat performance in terms of tourism arrivals, as Mauritius announced the 2012 end year figures yesterday.

Arrival grew by a token 0.1 percent from 964.642 in 2011 to 965.411 in 2012 in the face of a 24.1% reduction in arrivals from Italy, 13.2 % reduction from France, and 2.0 % and 0.6 % reduction from Germany and the UK, respectively.

The “saviors” for Mauritius tourism proved to be the emerging markets of Russia and China with growth rates of 58.9 % and 38%, respectively. Revenues from the tourism industry, according to figures related from a source in Port Louis, grew from 42.7 billion Mauritius rupees in 2011 to 44.3 billion Mauritius rupees in 2012.

The source, however, called the contention into question that the traditional markets in Europe were generally soft, citing the Seychelles arrival figures which showed sustained growth from the German market in particular, saying: “We need to look for reasons within our marketing establishment, not just blame our traditional markets. Our marketing needs a new push, a new vision. We lost the number one spot in arrivals for the Indian Ocean islands to the Maldives in a year when they had a lot of political troubles but still they beat us. Sri Lanka has caught up with us also.

“We are waiting for changes at MTPA because they can no longer give the tourism industry what the tourism industry needs in today’s environment. At least we have not seen our arrival numbers reduce like we feared for a long time but a 0.1 percent rise is nothing in the great scheme of things. Our resorts need higher occupancies and those come from inspired marketing, not from what we got from MTPA right now.”

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Tags: mauritius, tourism

Photo credit: Taken from the beach at the Oberoi Hotel in Mauritius. For some unseen reason, tourism was flat to here in 2012. Stuart Richards / Flickr

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