The effects of Europe’s recession have extended in reach as Mauritius’ tourist arrivals from the continent are experiencing slumps, Travel Daily News reported. Tourism and Leisure Minister Michael Yeung Sik Yuen said in the report that 60 percent of all tourists once traveled from Europe.
Twenty-seven percent of Europe’s arrivals ventured from France. Now, numbers have been cut in half — French visitors accounting for just under 13 percent of tourists in Mauritius. With less than 1 million tourists overall, the island’s industry flourished by a mere 0.1 percent last year, according to Travel Daily News.
Sik Yuen revealed that the ministry is looking to attract business from nations where marketing strategies will have a greater impact. In addition, stabilized countries with strong economies, he said, are more likely to consider Mauritius for a vacation destination.
“We target BRIC countries and particularly China. However, we are just at the beginning of our promotion towards the Chinese market. The Maldives have totally embraced China tourism, receiving now some 200,000 tourists from China every year,” Sik Yuen said. “Despite a growth last year of almost 40 percent, total Chinese arrivals remains below its potential as we only welcomed 21,000 visitors.”
In January 2013, Air Mauritius — the island’s national airline carrier — began routing biweekly flights between Shanghai, after Mauritius wrote and proposed an air service agreement. In July of this year, flights to and from Beijing were added to the plan, Travel Daily News reported.
“We need to build up more our marketing presence as Chinese favorite islands are today the Maldives, Hawaii and Bali. We need to be more present on the Chinese market. It has been a priority for me since I took office two years ago,” Sik Yuen continued, noting that India will next be prioritized as Mauritius works to grow tourism.