Desvaux sacked as MTPA Chairman



Information was received yesterday that Robert Desvaux, hitherto Chairman of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, and reportedly a close friend of the country’s Deputy Prime Minister who sponsored him to the position, has been relieved of his duties with immediate effect. It is not clear at this moment if a successor has already been appointed and if more members of the board of MTPA will also face the axe in what might turn out to be the start of a major reshuffle and possible re-organization of the tourism authority.

The reaction from Port Louis was mixed however, as most of those contacted insisted that it should have been Mr. Karl Mootoosamy and his bunch of merry men who needed sacking, as it was in the opinion of those sampled their lack of vision and imagination which led to the decline of the country’s tourism industry.

Once the leading force in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius was overtaken last year in terms of arrival numbers by the Maldives, inspite of serious political trouble through much of the early parts of 2012 and Sri Lanka is now breathing down the neck of Mauritius in third position but catching up fast.

Mootoosamy is [dis]credited with at least two copy and paste attempts to have tried and grab the Seychelles ‘intellectual property’ over the past year, first with his blatant attempt to copy the idea of the carnival – later flipped over to a shopping festival which flopped badly and cost the Mauritius taxpayers an arm and a leg – and then by blatantly trying to steal the idea of SUBIOS, the Seychelles Festival of the Sea when attempting to coin a ‘Carnival of the Sea’, demonstrating both ethical as well as creative bankruptcy of how to drive Mauritius tourism forward.

Mauritius last week captured the runner up position as second best foreign float, after a very belated participation in the Seychelles Carnaval de Carnivals, after a few weeks earlier all but accusing the Seychelles of putting a 100.000 US Dollar price tag on the participation, an accusation swiftly put right at the time by the Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange, who clarified immediately that only co-hosts for the Carnival International de Victoria were asked to make financial contributions, while participation with floats and performers were entirely free of cost.

It should have been Karl to go first but we know of his threats to bring the roof down if he is sacked. Yet, in the national interest it is time for him and his sycophants to leave now. Perhaps this is the start of a major overhaul of MTPA to bring in new blood, inject new ideas and a new vision for Mauritius Tourism and give our industry new hope, a new beginning, free of all the divisions we see in our politics. I am not shy to point to Seychelles as an example. Under Ambassador Maurice at the time the STB had grown stale and was out of touch with reality, divorced from the private sector. When they brought in Alain St. Ange things changed. Today, everyone talks about Seychelles, and Mauritius is almost an afterthought. He created the Vanilla Island concept and for those active in it the rewards are clear. Those who co-host the carnival festival, the rewards are clear. St. Ange is Mootoosamy’s nightmare and yet, the man has found the solutions for Seychelles we need to find ourselves for Mauritius too. MTPA needs change, urgent change, major fundamental change. Changing the chairman should have been the last step but as usual, politics prevailed at the expense of the tourism industry’ communicated a regular source from Port Louis when discussing the breaking news, which reached during the course of Sunday.

All tourism industry eyes in Mauritius are now on MTPA where the appointment of a new chairman is expected in due course but more importantly, if further personnel changes are in the offing. Watch this space.

2 Responses

  1. Was it something I said? I had lunch with Robert Desvaux and Karl Mootoosamy on Friday 15th and the former seemed in good spirits, so presumably he had no inkling of this. If anything, it was Karl who seemed rather distracted during the meal.

    Meanwhile, I understand from AML that the new airport terminal is not expected to open until July at the earliest, partly because of constructional complications arising from the discovery of an underground stream and caves. Although an Emirates A380 is scheduled to make the type’s first commercial call at MRU on Mauritian Independence Day (12 March), passengers will merely use one of the walkways at the new terminal and then join the usual long queues for passport control in the old terminal.

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