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​Introduction to the Tourism Sector in Mauritius

Across the world, tourism has emerged as an engine of growth and Mauritius is no exception.  Today, tourism is one of the fastest growing socio-economic sectors that is fuelling economic growth and creating jobs and business opportunities in the country.
The growth of the tourism sector has outperformed the national average. In fact, the growth rate in the sector for the year 2016 was 7.8% of GDP compared to 3.8% of the national GDP average. It is expected that tourism growth for 2017 will be around 6.6% whereas the national GDP will be around 3.9%. Tourist arrivals in 2016 grew by 10.8%, exceeding growth of international tourist arrivals, which according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) reached 3.9%.
After more than a decade, the tourism sector registered double digit growth two years in a row. The growth momentum for 2017 is being pursued with a modest increase of 6.6% in tourist arrivals, taking into account a larger tourism base as compared to the previous year.
Tourist Arrivals

Development of the Sector​

The tourism sector in Mauritius has experienced continued expansion and diversification over the decades, as illustrated in the table below:​​​
Market Diversification Strategy
 Mauritius is largely dependent on European visitors, with France being the largest single market followed by UK and Germany. The diversification strategy adopted by the Ministry since 2008 focusing on emerging markets like China and India is paying dividend. So much so, that the euro zone which constituted about 67% of our total tourist arrivals in 2009, has gradually declined to reach 57% in 2016. Conversely, tourist arrivals from Asia which stood at 7% in 2009, increased to 16 % in 2016. Likewise, tourist arrivals from Africa increased from 23% in 2009 to 28% in 2016.​


New Policy Framework for Pleasure Craft Activities

In August 2016, the Ministry introduced a new policy framework called Pleasure Craft Management System for the management, licensing and operation of pleasure craft in a bid to reinforce safety and security of pleasure craft activities, which form part of our core tourism product. The new policy framework requires that:
  •       the design and construction of pleasure craft in Mauritius to be in accordance with ISO 12 217 standard;
  •      the carrying capacity of pleasure craft not ISO certified to be determined in a scientific manner based on the Australian method, which takes into account adverse weather conditions and rough seas; and
  •      the skippers to be classified in three categories as per their competencies, namely ocean going, up to 24 nautical miles and up to 12 nautical miles.
The new policy framework does not only enhance safety and security at sea but also fosters the harmonious development of the pleasure craft sector.
Elimination of Low Season

For two years in a row, the Ministry has succeeded in eliminating the low season through the organization of specific sport events and shopping fiesta with the collaboration of tour operators, airlines and hoteliers during period May to September. Special promotional packages were also offered targeting proximity markets like Reunion Island.
Last financial year, MTPA launched its “Mauritius 365” campaign to make Mauritius more appealing during the low season. This project promoted Mauritius as an all year round destination with a wide range of activities that caters for multiple segments. The campaign comprises a series of events such as Mauritius Open Golf Tournament, Rugby 10 Tournament, International Chef Competition, Cycling and Mauritius Extravaganza. This low season strategy resulted in an increase of 9.2 % in tourist arrivals for period May to September 2016 over the corresponding period 2015.
Business Facilitation
In the spirit of business facilitation, the Tourist Enterprise Licence in respect of hotel, guesthouse, tourist residence and domaine have been replaced by a Tourist Accommodation Certificate (TAC). The TAC constitutes an omnibus permit which combines all activities (restaurant, beauty parlour, health and fitness, spa and wellness, boat house, shops, boutiques and bar) operated by a hotel, guesthouse, tourist residence and domaine. Accordingly, operators are now required to pay a single operating fee for all their activities as opposed to a Tourist Enterprise Licence fee in respect of each activity.  
The IT Infrastructure of the Tourism Authority has completely overhauled and replaced by a new IT platform where the public can apply and obtain a licence online and effect payment thereof electronically. This measure will greatly improve service delivery by the Tourism Authority and reduce cost of doing business for tourism operators.
Hotel Classification
A hotel classification system was introduced in February 2016, in a bid to consolidate the tourism industry with well-defined criteria for operational standards. The classification system, which adopts a customer-centric approach, has greatly contributed towards upholding the image of Mauritius as an upmarket destination and reinforcing tourist confidence by ensuring value for money. A total of 99 hotels have been classified as follows:

Index​ Assises du Tourisme 2017​
The “Assises du Tourisme” 2017 was organised by the Ministry on 02 June to brainstorm on the challenges facing the industry and to chart a roadmap for the short and medium terms, so as to reposition the sector in the new business environment.
More than 200 tourism stakeholders from the public and private sector participated in the Assises, which revolved around four axes: accessibility, visibility, attractiveness and sustainability of the destination.
Four main recommendations emanted from the Assises:
(i) establishing Mauritius as a festive and vibrant destination and a tourism hub in the Indian Ocean;
(ii) consolidation of the destination branding as well as online visibility through social media, search engine marketing and mobile apps;
(iii) mainstreaming of eco-friendly practices in tourism development; and
(iv) increasing the airlift from China to Mauritius to capture a greater share of the Chinese outbound tourists.
Post Assises workshops are being organised to fine-tune the recommendations and draft a strategic plan for the sector based on a shared vision of enhancing the global competitiveness of the destination. The strategic plan will articulate the policies, strategies, projects and programmes that would be implemented over a period of three years to respond to the emerging challenges and enhance the visibility and attractiveness of the destination.
Promotional Activities
During the last financial year, MTPA conducted several marketing campaigns in the traditional, emerging, new and regional markets. This has greatly contributed to boost tourist arrivals and tourism earnings. As a matter of fact, tourist arrivals increased by 10.8% and tourism receipt by 11.15% in 2016.
The MTPA has through the following destination promotional campaigns maintained the visibility of Mauritius as a prime holiday and upmarket destination:
i. Participation in 26 overseas tourism fairs.
ii. Organization of 14 roadshows
iii. Organization of 40 events at national level with participation of tourists.
iv. Organization of 20 FAM trips.
v. Sponsoring of AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open Golf 2017
Mauritius obtained the following awards:​