Mauritius: Romance, culture and gastronomy

With Mauritius awarded the title “World’s Most Romantic Destination 2018” at the World Travel Awards in December, it’s no wonder tourism has been enjoying a renaissance in the Indian Ocean island nation.

“Tourism is a major engine of economic growth in the Mauritian economy,” Arvind Bundhun, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, told ITB Berlin News.

“We have been substantially growing the tourism industry by almost 5% per year,” he said, adding that the country has quickly reached its target of 1.4 annual million visitors, a gure that promises to expand.

“Tourism is quite Eurocentric in Mauritius,” says Bundhun about a Europe-dominated source market. Traditionally led by France and the UK, this market has been buoyed by a large rise in arrivals from Germany. “We are very con dent of maintaining this trend,” Bundhun said of a German market that increased by 10% in 2018.

This uptick was showcased with over 40 tour operators in attendance at an impressive Mauritius ITB Berlin stand that punches well above the island nation’s weight.

As Mauritius taps deeper into the growing luxury resort market, the nation’s tourism growth should be further helped by emerging source markets such as China and Saudi Arabia.

But while tropical beaches are the classical selling point, culture is another major draw in a nation where Hindu, Muslim, Chinese and Christian cultural traditions live side-by-side. “It’s not just a sun and sea destination. You have different cultures, different cuisines,” notes Bundhun, adding that “there’s something about Mauritius that other destinations don’t have: our service.”

“The Mauritian is at the heart of the industry, and they are known to provide this legendary service with a smile,” he said. “That what makes Mauritius different.”

Mauritius will be further showcasing this unique selling point to the wider travel industry when it hosts the World Travel Awards Gala for Africa and the Indian Ocean in June 2019.

Photo: Arvind Bundhun Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority