MAURITIUS TOURISM MINISTER GETS THE PARTY STICK WHILE AT ITB
Information from Port Louis indicates that while the Mauritius Tourism Minister Michael Sik Yuen is out of country to attend the world’s leading tourism fair, ITB in Berlin, at the home front dark clouds are now hanging over him as his party has installed a new party leader in the Curepipe area of the island, where Yuen was elected to parliament. One Richard Duval was apparently installed by the PMSD Party, of which Yuen is still a member, in what several sources described as the ‘inevitable backlash for sacking Robert Desvaux a few weeks ago as chairman of MTPA even though he is a very close confidante of the party leader and Deputy Prime Minister’.
Wrote one source: ‘Yuen did a sneaky on his party leader. His action disrespected the Deputy PM. This is the answer, while he is away, to show him who is who in the party. Of course there is a lot of speculation over his future and time will tell. But such behaviour has to get a fitting answer and the party has now put a leash on him in his own backyard. To your other question, the tourism industry is awash with rumours of a major change at MTPA and as you know, I personally think it is very long overdue. They could probably not do so before ITB but then, perhaps they should have sent in a new fresh team and not those with such a bad reputation’.
The development further blurs and clouds the situation surrounding the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, where no new chair has been appointed since Robert Desvaux’s surprise sacking, while he himself is on record of having stated he has no interest to return to the position – no wonder adds this correspondent as MTPA seems to have become a regular snake pit.
One member of the Mauritius delegation presently in Berlin for ITB and in regular contact with this correspondent tried to play down the impact of the political change brought by the PMSD, saying in a mail: ‘This week we must stand together to promote Mauritius. We did not have a good year. Arrivals were literally the same as in 2011. The Maldives have overtaken us with the most arrivals. We cannot let personal issues overshadow our common objective to market our island. Everything else we shall sort out when we get back home’.
Mauritius is competing for tourists with other destinations in the Indian Ocean region off the African mainland alongside La Reunion, a re-emerging Madagascar and a rampant Seychelles while further into the Indian Ocean the Maldives and Sri Lanka too are working the market vying for more visitors and their all important tourism-dollars.
Watch this space.