See also:
» 07.10.2010 - Indian Ocean tourism cooperation limping
» 02.10.2008 - New resort opens at Anahita, Mauritius
» 23.02.2007 - Mauritius expects euro 828m from tourism this year
» 05.06.2006 - Tourist arrivals up in Mauritius; disaster in Réunion
» 06.04.2006 - Also Indian Ocean tourists hit by chikungunya virus
» 07.03.2006 - Mosquitoes in Paradise: Chikungunya epidemic spreads
» 20.12.2004 - Mauritius strengthens tourism infrastructure
» 12.08.2004 - Uncertain future for Mauritius' tourism sector

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Travel - Leisure | Economy - Development

"Mauritius may triple tourist arrivals"

afrol News, 9 February - Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam of Mauritius holds that "Mauritius has the capacity, socially and physically, to receive over two million tourists a year," almost three times the number received in 2005. During the last few years, the Mauritian tourism sector had been stagnant, but growth returned in 2005.

The Mauritian Prime Minister made his optimistic statement at the opening ceremony this morning of the plenary session of "Les Assises du Tourisme". Prime Minister Ramgoolam said the Indian Ocean nation needed "the commitment of all stakeholders so as to capture a greater share of this rapidly growing global industry."

"Many less endowed countries are doing much better than we are - both in absolute numbers and in the share of GDP contributed by the tourism sector," Mr Ramgoolam pointed out. Indeed, the very importnat Mauritian tourism sector has not performed well during the last few years. In 2004, Mauritius only saw a growth in international arrivals below one percent - much poorer than the world average.

Last year, however, Mauritius was among the world's winners in the unpredictable tourism industry. A growth of 6 percent in international arrivals had been noted, a bit more than the global average growth of 5.5 percent. Neighbouring Seychelles had however grown by 7 percent.

For 2006, the prospects seem rather bleak given the spread of the mosquito-borne chikungunya disease in the Indian Ocean region. The disease has taken proportions of an epidemic in neighbouring Réunion and is rapidly spreading in Seychelles. First cases have been noted in Mauritius. Analysts fear that the disease may ruin the entire 2006 season for all Indian Ocean destinations.

Prime Minister Ramgoolam however holds that Mauritius needs to create much greater revenues from tourism, even though he is aware that "this sector remains fragile and is vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, fashion and epidemiology." In the wake of the "formidable challenges" in the sugar and textile sectors of Mauritius, "the tourism industry takes on a new importance," Mr Ramgoolam said.

The Prime Minister told the conference delegates it was "imperative that the country realises the full potential of the tourism industry and makes it the leading growth sector in the economy." Mr Ramgoolam promised the Mauritian government would make a great contribution to the development of tourism.

His government's tourism strategy included modernising the physical infrastructure; ensuring the safety and sense of security of visitors; preserving the environment; adopting a more courteous and people-friendly approach at the airport; increasing the tourism promotion budget; developing eco-tourism, medical tourism and cultural tourism; and "ensuring that everything is done to control the entry into the country of infectious diseases."

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