Africa-Press – Mauritius. A 10-year blueprint for the future of the tourism sector and to increase resilience in positioning Mauritius as a more competitive destination and an action plan to implement inland tourism including nature-based tourism are in the pipeline, announced the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, this afternoon, at the launching of the One & Only Le Saint Géran Private Homes project, at Pointe de Flacq.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Minister of Tourism, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo; several Ministers; the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, and Chairman of Kerzner International, Mr Mohammed Al Shaibani; the Chief Executive Officer of the One & Only Le Saint Géran, Mr Philippe Zuber; and, other eminent personalities were present at the launching ceremony of the project.
At the outset, the Prime Minister commended the One & Only Le Saint Géran for playing a pivotal role in projecting Mauritius as a world class luxury island destination and Kerzner International for its continued excellence in the tourism industry. He pointed out that a total amount of Rs 3.9 billion will be invested in this luxury real estate programme. Such investment demonstrates the Group’s trust in the economy and commitment in building up businesses in Mauritius, he emphasised.
This project, Prime Minister Jugnauth emphasised, will help Mauritius to diversify tourism accommodation and it is in line with Government’s strategy to target most specifically individuals coming to Mauritius on premium visa. The premium visa scheme has played an important role to kick-start the recovery of the tourism industry following the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
On the impacts of the pandemic on the tourism sector, Mr Jugnauth observed that arrivals dropped from 1.38 million in 2019 to around 309,000 in 2020 and around 180,000 in 2021.
The Prime Minister highlighted that touristic activity has returned to pre-pandemic levels in many aspects while indicating that One & Only Le Saint Géran is leading the way after having recorded bookings above 70% for the last part of 2022. The contribution of tourism to the GDP was 8% for year 2019 and is estimated to be around 6% in 2022, he said.
With the sectors impressive recovery, he stated that Government is determined to achieve its ambitious goal of attracting one million tourists this calendar year and 1.4 million in financial year 2022/2023. He further enumerated that some 86,000 tourists visited Mauritius in August 2022 as compared to 107,000 tourists in 2019, representing a recovery rate of 81%. For the first eight months of this year, some 557,000 tourists have visited the country, he indicated. With the peak season stretching from October to January, the Prime Minister expressed optimism that the number of touristic arrivals will exceed the one million bar.
Prime Minister Jugnauth moreover reiterated that without the bold accompanying measures introduced by Government in the face of the COVID-19 to support hotel companies, jobs and the self-employed, the country would have been in chaos. Policy responses together with marketing efforts by government agencies and private operators have contributed to the successful recovery, he stated.
“The recovery rate of our main markets for July 2022 is most comforting with tourist arrivals from United Kingdom, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Austria and the United Arab Emirates even exceeding the pre-pandemic level” said the Prime Minister.
Mr Jugnauth further elaborated that in financial year 2018/2019, tourism earnings achieved stood at Rs 61.6 billion for 1,402,635 tourists and for financial year 2021/2022, we achieved Rs 39.6 billion for 553,111 tourists. It is also to be noted that the spend per tourist increased by 63% in rupee terms and 30% in US dollar, he added. “We will continue to channel marketing efforts towards niche segments of high network travellers who mainly come from the Middle East, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India, and South Africa”, stated the Prime Minister.
For his part, Mr Al Shaibani expressed satisfaction and pride for achieving this milestone through the dedicated hard work of the Group. He spoke of his commitment to showcase the culturally rich Mauritius destination and the continued development of tourism in the country. He also extended his appreciation to the team for the private homes development project.
As for Mr Zuber, he dwelt on the imperative to work together so that Mauritius remains at the centre-stage of the luxury travel industry and as the top choice. He spoke of the continued willingness to invest and innovate. He also enumerated projects for the protection of the ecosystem through the launching of the mangrove rehabilitation programme. Providing support to needy communities such as an elderly home in Belle Mare and a centre for disadvantaged children are also some of the corporate social responsibilities projects outlined by Mr Zuber.
The One & Only Le Saint Géran, the promoter and developer of the project has been a pioneer in luxury hospitality since its inception in 1975. It is one of the most ultra desirable luxury resorts in the Indian Ocean. The launch of the Private Homes Project will offer designer branded residences in Mauritius.