Tourism, fourth pillar of the economy after manufacturing, the Financial & Insurance activities and Wholesale and retail trade sector, contributes significantly to economic growth and has been a key driver in the socio-economic development of Mauritius. In the past two decades tourist arrivals increased at an average annual rate of 4.7% with a corresponding increase of about 9.4% in tourism earnings. In 2016, gross tourism earnings were 55.9 billion rupees (1,559 million US $) and the tourism sector contributed to 7.7% of overall GDP.
Tourist arrivals have been increasing steadily over the last two decades from 536,125 in 1997 to 1,275,227 in 2016, a more than two-fold increase. In 2016, about 58% of the tourist arrivals are of European origin, with France being its leading market. The nearby Reunion French Territory is the most important short haul source market accounting for about 11% of total tourist arrivals. Tourist arrival from Asia represented total visitors of which 7% originated from the Indian Sub-Continent and 6% from People’s Republic of China.
The National Tourism Policy emphasizes low impact, high spending tourism. Selective, up-market and quality tourism which constitutes the major segment of our tourists, stays in high class hotels.
The most prestigious beach side resort hotels are owned and/or operated by large groups such as Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Sun Resorts, Attitude Resorts, Veranda Resorts and Lux Island Resorts. Many of the beach resort hotels are internationally recognised for their very high quality. It is estimated that around 20% of visitors stay in non-hotel accommodation, such as guest houses, self-catering bungalows, tourist residences and with friends and relatives.