Mauritius tourism rises in H1, hoteliers still wary

  • Reuters, Port Louis
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 27, 2010 22:11 IST

Mauritius registered a 6.2 per cent rise in tourist arrivals in the first six months of the year, compared with a year earlier, officials said on Tuesday, but hoteliers said the industry was still facing difficulties.

Tourism is an important economic driver and a key source of hard currency for the Indian Ocean island best known for its luxury spas and beaches.

The sector suffered last year as the global slowdown curbed demand and triggered aggressive price discounting but the government said there have been signs of a rebound.

Some 439,150 tourists visited the Indian Ocean island from January to June 2010, compared to 413,504 a year earlier, said the government's Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.

The data was released a week after the Bank of Mauritius reported a 24.4 per cent rise in tourism receipts in May, compared to the same month in 2009.

Hotel operators said widespread discounting, the weakness of the euro and austerity measures in Europe, the home of many of their customers, were still hitting their revenues.

"It is difficult to reconcile the official figures with the figures we have through the hotels," Patrice Legris, director of AHRIM, an umbrella group of hotels and restaurants, told Reuters.

"The coming months will also be difficult for the industry as we are now in the low season period and it is also expected that with the austerity measures in Europe, our main market, people will reduce travel spending," he said.

The government has said it expects arrivals to rise to 915,000, up 5 per cent from 871,356 visitors in 2009.


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