Mauritius has experienced a surge in tourism revenues in the first half of the year, boosted by strong growth in visitor numbers from Asia, particularly in India.
Tourism receipts rose 8.5 percent in the six months to June to 19.5 billion rupees, according to the Central Statistics Office. But the island strong recovery was weighed down by sluggish growth across its core European source market, due to ongoing financial woes across the continent plus the weakness of the Euro against the local currency.
The CSO said 439,150 tourists visited Mauritius during the period. It is also sticking with its forecast of a 5 percent growth in visitors in 2010 to 915,000.
Arrivals from the Asian market rose 21.2 percent year-on-year, with India leading the surge.
Finance minister Pravind Jugnauth last week unveiled a $395 million programme to boost the export and tourism sectors.
The stimulus package, the island’s second in recent years aims to attract more visitors from the burgeoning markets of India, China and Russia.
Jugnauth said he hopes to double the number of Indian tourists to 115,000 by 2015.
The Indian Ocean island, which is famed for its beaches, azure waters and luxury hotels, relies heavily on tourism. The industry accounted for 7.4 percent of GDP in 2009, down from 9.4 percent and 8.7 percent in 2007 and 2008 before the global financial crisis.
(Lilane Swanepoel, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, celebrates the island’s victory as “Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination” at the World Travel Awards 2010 with David Falcon, Senior Vice President, World Travel Awards)
Mauritius picked up a number of top awards at the World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean Ceremony 2010, which was hosted in Johannesburg last month. Awards included “Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination”. Mauritius Air picked up “Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline”, whilst Maradiva won “Mauritius’ Leading Resort”.