Mauritius saw an 8.6% fall in gross tourism receipts to Rs 40.55 billion in 2013 from a year ago, according to data released by officials yesterday. This was largely on the back of reduced arrivals from Europe, the main source market for tourists to the island economy, which fell 1.5 percent to 547,046 in 2013.
Further, France, a mainstay of the island’s tourism sector, also showed lower footfalls for 2013 at 244,752, a fall of 4.7% compared to the year-ago period.
Data from Statistics Mauritius released earlier this year showed that while overall tourist arrivals rose 2.9 percent to 993,106 last year, the tourism sector was unable to meet its annual target of 1 million footfalls.
Last year, visitors from Asia propped up the flagging tourism sector, to stand at 132,554 at the close of 2013, an increase of 27% compared to the year-ago period.
Tourists from China powered the Asian footfalls, with total visitors for 2013 up 100.7% to 41,913.
This year too, arrivals from Asia leapt 65.5 percent for the month of January, countering a 1.9 percent decline in visitors from Europe.
China continued to power Asian footfalls, with tourists up 298.7 percent in the same period to 6,706 from 1,682 a year earlier.
Also, air connectivity, a major challenge for the tourism sector so far, is gradually on the upswing.
Air Mauritius is increasingly focusing on Chinese travelers, with 2 additional flights to mainland China in 2014, which represents a 57% increase in seat capacity planned for financial year 2014-15.
The Bank of Mauritius forecast an upward trend in tourism revenues to Rs 44.50 billion for 2014, on the back of the government’s strategy of penetrating new countries and new client profiles.
Image (via Accommodation.io): France, a mainstay of the island’s tourism sector, also showed lower footfalls for 2013 at 244,752, a fall of 4.7% compared to the year-ago period.
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