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The Mauritius tourism sector on an interesting growth mode

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“By international standards, this is relatively low. There is an urgent need, therefore, to add value to our tourism products so that we may incite our visitors to spend more during their stay in Mauritius. There are enormous opportunities for more revenues from tourism but these remain still untapped. Our people, and especially the youth, should be adequately trained and encouraged to move beyond the trodden path and bring innovative ideas and concepts to the sector. Likewise, a new mindset is needed for our institutions to breathe freshness in tourism business facilitation and development strategies for this sector.”

Sen Ramsamy argues that the offer of all-inclusive packages by hotels and the phenomenal concept of Airbnb are seriously undermining the foundation of tourism in various destinations across the world. “Mauritius is no exception. Bold policy measures are called for in order to bring our destination back on its selective tourism policy track. Most of the tourists in Mauritius are willing to spend more of their disposable income but we lack attractive inland tourism facilities and services to incite them to spend more at value for money prices.

Nightlife is quasi non-existent in Mauritius whilst the new generation of world travelers is on the lookout for more vitality in our local business environment, day and night. The sad reality is that most of the shops in Mauritius run strangely as offices. They open at 10.00 am and close at 6.00 pm. But this is precisely the time when most people are at work. Our capital city is open only half day on Saturday and on Sunday, we are closed.”

He further states that compared to other countries, “shops work on two shifts, from 9.00 am to 13.00 pm and re-open at 5.00 pm till midnight, seven days a week. Restaurants and nightclubs also work on a two-shift system until 02.00 am daily.” He trusts that if we could change this business habit, it would mean immediate and more productive jobs for the people.

“Night activities conducted in a safe and secure environment can generate far more revenues and multiplier effects than our day activities. It is a good thing that we are diversifying our tourism market base. But contrary to the European culture, the Chinese, Indian, Arab and African visitors are generally late night shoppers/diners and partygoers. Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong have readjusted their business strategies according to this new fashion and new trends in human behavior and they are capitalizing on this lucrative parallel economy. Destination Mauritius prefers to go to sleep early and wake up late. Plenty of missed opportunities.”

Sen Ramsamy believes that the economic sustainability of the tourism sector “will rest to a large extent on new policy orientations that could stimulate more business effervescence, bearing in mind that an addition of 1.4 million people are on the lookout for a great Mauritian experience and are willing to spend more.”

But primarily, as he claims, “it is our duty to ensure that the issue of tourist safety and security remains high on the agenda of all stakeholders. It is not simply a government responsibility. It is above all the duty and responsibility of every citizen to ensure that the tourist experience is made memorable, trouble free and full of fun in the land of smiles. It is also a matter of dignity and national pride for our people.”

Source: Riaz Nassurally, E-Tourism Consultant Social Media Marketing Director & Le Defi Media Group / News on Sunday

Editor’s Note:- We are republishing this article to highlight the similarities between Mauritius and Seychelles in this respect. I have known Sen Ramsamy  for many years and we have shared many platforms through the ICTP. I value his expertise in the field of tourism. The article touches on airline seats, on natural disasters before moving on to yield, and the need to incite visitors to spend. Sen Ramsamy agrees on the untapped opportunities that exist. He highlights lack of nightlife and the need to make shopping come alive, “Our capital city is open only half day on Saturday and on Sunday, we are closed,” he says before ending on the issue of safety.

These points hit close to home for the Seychelles Tourism Board, which is well aware that our vibrant town of Victoria shuts down after midday on Saturdays, and remains a graveyard on Sundays. Tourists have little to see and do after making the trek to the heart of the main island of Mahe, and virtually nowhere to enjoy a local beverage or sample Creole cuisine, on dreary weekends. Cruise Ship Season is here and shops and souvenir kiosks are still closed. This will be a good point for discussion at the Vanilla Islands Ministerial meetings.

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