Laid off resort staff protest in Port Louis


Laid off in February due to low business recorded at their resort, some 18 staff of the St. Geran resort on Mauritius took to the streets to demonstrate over the allegedly poor deal they got, hoping for intervention from the labour ministry to either be reinstated or else be given a substantially bigger golden handshake for losing their employment.

Mauritius has been struggling last year with less than hoped for arrivals, losing the coveted top spot for tourist arrivals in the Indian Ocean to the Maldives. A shake up in the tourism promotion authority, long overdue when going by the regularly voiced opinions from stakeholders in touch with this correspondent, has started at the wrong end when two months ago the chairman was sacked, also causing substantial fallout between the tourism minister and his party leader, who is also the deputy prime minister.

There have been some layoffs as a result of the poorer than expected business in our hotels. We just had the St. Regis open its doors which means stiffer competition for those tourists who opt to come to Mauritius. Marketing is the key as you always write and there we have to really get back on track. Innovation, new ideas, new perspectives are needed, not cheaply copying what others do. We need to create our own brand identity again, find a new catching slogan and tag line for Mauritius because, as you also write about, we have a lot of attractions on the island. Mauritius needs to showcase our nature, our island landscapes, not just the beaches. And we need to open our skies without just thinking of protecting our national airline. Air Mauritius needs a strong partner, like Air Seychelles. They turned from big losses to profits in a year since they teamed up with Etihad. Those are lessons we need to analyse and turn into action of our own’ wrote a regular source from Port Louis when passing the information about the demonstration to this correspondent.

Other stakeholders though expressed their hope that 2013 will be a better year and catapult Mauritus above the 1 million arrival mark, but acknowledged too in varying degrees that the island’s marketing by MTPA needs urgent revision and reorganization and become inclusive to have all stakeholders on board and not just a select few.

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