GCC now a priority market for Mauritius

The beautiful island country of Mauritius

Market diversification is essential for Europe-centric Mauritius as it emerges from 19 months of closed international borders. This is one of the reasons why Gulf countries, with their sizeable direct connectivity, are currently in the spotlight, explains Arvind Bundhun, Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) in an interview last month.

“We are extremely pleased to visit the UAE and reconnect with our industry partners. The number of Mauritius partners and level of seniority present on this mission is indicative of the commitment and level of importance this market holds for us. The UAE and Gulf region have become key strategic markets for Mauritius, as we diversify our visitor mix,” said Bundhun.



Bundhun was accompanied by a high-level government and tourism delegation from Mauritius who visited the UAE, seeking to position the country as the destination and partner of choice for the UAE’s travel agents, tourism industry partners and leisure-seeking residents.

“After 19 months of closure, we decided to reopen our international borders in full on October 1, last year. The first lesson we learnt emerging from the pandemic is to be resilient – and there is no better way to be resilient than to diversify the markets. In this context, the Gulf countries will be instrumental towards the development of the tourism industry post pandemic. In Mauritius, we have been very Europe-centric. We are now putting in a lot of marketing muscle here in the GCC countries, where we have direct connectivity to Mauritius.”

In 2019, Mauritius welcomed around 50,000 visitors from the GCC, which was around 5 per cent of the total international visitors. “The objective is to double this figure and we've got the potential to achieve it - we believe in this market. The key word is diversification. 2022 will be crucial for the tourism industry and our strategy is to consolidate our key markets in Europe as well as strengthen our presence in other markets.

“It’s important to understand that Mauritius is not only about pristine beaches or a luxury break, we also have a lot more to offer. Our population comes from four different parts of the world. We’ve got a diverse culture, religions, gastronomy, an open economy and this will definitely play a major role in tourism going forward.

“We have been closed for 19 months: tourism industry is at the heart of the Mauritian economy and we are striving to maintain our highest standards. We have built our reputation on legendary service and hospitality. The government is putting lots of efforts in maintaining the destination at the top of the mind of visitors in terms of infrastructure, beauty and sustainability, which is key.”



Mauritius took a more cautious approach to reopening, in line with its public health-first approach to managing the pandemic. “We took the decision early to wait until 60 per cent of the adult population were fully vaccinated before reopening, recognising that a high vaccination rate is the most effective way to ensure the safety and security of our citizens, residents and visitors. 60 per cent was achieved in early September.

“First of all, our vaccination rollout campaign is extremely successful, and we speak today, 80 per cent of our population is fully vaccinated and around 15 per cent have received the booster dose, which makes Mauritius very secure.

“Regular updates on our vaccine roll out, sanitary protocols and Covid-19 infection rates are regularly updated and publicly available. As well as a high vaccination rate, we have developed a range of highly effective public health protocols which have been continually refined over the course of a year. Working with industry partners and the health authorities, we have ensured that these are implemented throughout the tourism value chain. Our sanitary protocols have been endorsed by the WTTC. These conditions mean that Mauritius can offer its visitors the highest guarantee of safety and security.

"In today's world, safety is the new luxury," Bundhun tells TTN.  





THE Covid-19 travel ban imposed by the Republic of Mauritius on the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia has been lifted and commercial passenger flights from these countries to Mauritius can resume.

“We are very pleased that South Africans can once again travel to Mauritius. The Covid-19 has placed significant pressure on all nations to do the right thing and we thank South Africans and the South African travel industry for their patience in this regard,” says Arvind Bundhun, Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA).

The Mauritian health authorities are continuing to implement a wide-ranging Covid-19 response and are presently prioritising the rollout of booster doses for those who are already double vaccinated. The vaccination of 15 to 18-year-old is also well underway.

“Sanitary protocols throughout the Mauritius hospitality industry remain at the very highest standards, ensuring that the local community and international guests are afforded maximum protection from the virus. Visitors can book holidays to Mauritius with a high degree of confidence that their trips will be enjoyable, safe, and secure,” says Bundhun.