PORT LOUIS - Mauritius expects its its tourism industry to recover this year on the back of higher visitor numbers after the island, one of Africa's best tourism performers, has weathered the crisis better than expected.
"Based on data available on tourist arrivals and information gathered from stakeholders, it is expected that tourist arrivals for the year 2010 would be around 915,000, representing an increase of 5 percent over the figure of 871,356 in 2009," the Central Statistics Office said in a statement on Thursday.The Indian Ocean island's tourism revenue for the year is forecast at around 40.1 billion rupees, up over 12 percent on the 35.6 billion generated in 2009.
Long-haul luxury destinations have suffered as the financial crisis and the ensuing economic slowdown changed consumer spending habits. Mauritius, which is best known for its azure waters, white beaches and luxury spas, has pursued an aggressive international marketing campaign, while its hotels have offered heavy discounts as it fights for market share.
Arrivals from Europe in 2009 fell 4.7 percent to 579,509 led by a 16.6 percent decline in German arrivals, a 14.6 percent drop in Italian arrivals and a 5.5 percent fall in British visitors. France, Mauritius' leading market, bucked the trend with a 6 percent increase.Visitor numbers from Asia, a market the island is increasingly looking to tap, decreased by 14.6 percent to 62,131. Arrivals from India, a big revenue generator, fell by 10.6 percent, the United Arab Emirates by 23.6 percent and Japan by 22.8 percent. This week, Mauritius' leading hotel groups including New Mauritius Hotels reported sharp declines in revenues. The statistics office said the average room occupancy rate for all hotels during in 2009 was 61 percent.