Mumbai: 2017 was a great year for Mauritius Tourism which witnessed a growth of 5.2 per cent to touch 1.34 million Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs), earning tourism receipts of around $1.8 billion. Two thirds of the arrivals were from Europe, a market that grew by 6 per cent. In 2018, the Indian Ocean island state has set a target of 1.43 million arrivals.
“Honeymoon and wedding remain one of the main customer segments with families, leisure, MICE and cruise also showing increased traction,” said Vijaye Haulder, Deputy Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MPTA). “But we are betting big on adventure tourism.”
MTPA wants to promote the island as a safe destination for adventure seekers. There are a host of water sports and activities to choose from: pedaloes, kayaks, water skis, sea karting, surfing, windsurfing, stand up paddle-boarding, glass bottom boats, catamaran cruises, dolphin watching and big game-fishing.
For those craving for more, there are underwater walks, submarine trips and parasailing. Mauritius is a well-known diving destination, and snorkelling can be done in most lagoons, where tourists can experience the marine life at close quarters. A glass bottom boat ride into the Blue Bay nature reserve and snorkelling in the lagoon are experiences that one will remember forever! A traveller can either head for the windiest spots in the South and East all year round, or take a trip to the North to enjoy kite surfing, sky diving or parasailing.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is undoubtedly one of the most visited attractions in Mauritius. Created over 300 years ago by the famous French botanist Pierre Poivre, the garden is the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere and boasts of a plethora of indigenous plants.
Mauritius has an advantage over other MICE destinations in the Indian Ocean as it houses the region’s largest and most modern convention centre – Swami Vivekananda Conference Centre in Pailles. This centre provides all the facilities needed for large, international conferences with a capacity to accommodate up to 5000 people at any given time.
“MICE comprises 10 per cent of all arrivals today but cruise is also fast picking up,” said Haulder. “By the end of 2019, we will have a state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Port- Louis Harbour.” International-level golf courses are another emerging attraction. The country has a rich golfing history and is set to cash in on that. “Mauritius has ten 18-hole golf courses and five 9-hole courses, each of which provides a unique golfing experience. The courses have been designed by leading golfers such as Ernie Els, Bernard Langer Sprawls and David Leadbetter.
Daily direct flights from Indian metros and hundreds of flights via the Middle East connect Mauritius, making it very accessible. “This year the endeavor is to go deeper into tier 2 cities like Chandigarh, Lucknow, Pune, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Kanpur, and Nagpur while sustaining our marketing actions in metros such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai.”