EU CO-FINANCES TOURISM PLANNING FOR MAURITIUS
Clearly stung deep by the success of fellow ‘vanilla island’ Seychelles, which has over the past two and a half years re-positioned itself as THE Indian Ocean island destination of choice and became the darling of the global media, Mauritius is now embarking on clawing her own position back with a new 5 year tourism strategic plan currently under development.
News from a source in Mauritius overnight confirmed that a consultant has been appointed and that the European Union had already released about 35.000 Euros towards the cost of the strategic plan production, allowing it to be fast tracked. The Minister for Tourism apparently also responded to questions asked by a member of parliament in this regard and confirmed that work had started to find ways and means to deal with the changing market conditions since the 2007/8 global financial and economic crisis and the more recent economic wobbles as a result of the sharp rise in crude oil prices and the financial fallout of the Euro zone crisis. Tourism sources are said to be anxious to see a new focus to be introduced in how the island markets itself abroad and how it is being perceived in the media and portrayed in relevant publications read by potential travelers to Mauritius. With a number of new hotels and resorts now available, average occupancies are giving the operators cause for concern, which recently resulted in demands to loosen the tight strings for airlines wanting to fly more often to Mauritius and reducing protection for the national carrier Air Mauritius. Focus on existing markets, to reclaim market share was also mentioned alongside the need to open up new markets outside of Europe with one source in particular again pointing to the Seychelles and their policy of ‘No Visa’ and ‘Open Skies’ which has hugely benefitted them and resulted in new arrival records being set month after month.
Adds this correspondent in closing: ‘it is never too late to do the right thing and there is no shame in absorbing lessons learned by others’.