Special Report

Mauritius Mauritius: It's a pleasure

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-10-13 08:02
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Country boosts image as a top vacation destination

With breathtaking scenery, an array of precious wildlife and a diverse range of activities such as fishing, waterskiing, hiking, golf, and sailing, Mauritius is a major tourism destination and a growing magnet for Chinese tourists who prefer activity holidays to simply laying on a sandy beach.

The country is expected to attract up to 1 million international visitors in 2010 who are forecast to spend $1.3 billion and remains on course to achieve its goal of two million tourists a year by 2015.

The tourism sector generates about 10 percent of GDP, with the Chinese share of the market seen as growing sharply as it benefits from targeted marketing campaigns and new airline routes from major cities in China and Asia.

Air Mauritius operates direct flights to Hong Kong and tourism chiefs predict the airline will launch a new route to Shanghai or Guangzhou in the not-too-distant future.

"Mauritius is a real country with many activities available and this is one of our main competitive advantages," said Nandcoomar Bodha, minister of Tourism and Leisure.

"Our new brand is 'Mauritius, it's a pleasure', because we think it's a pleasure to work, visit and invest here."

Underscoring the importance that Mauritius attaches to Chinese tourists, MTPA recently appointed a special representative to help sell the country's unique character and beauty to travelers from China.

"The quality of our service is our strongest point as the people are genuine and their sense of hospitality is among the best in the world," the tourism chief added.

"Chinese tourists want to do more than just soak up the sun and in Mauritius they can enjoy adventure tours and experience our many different religions, cultures and festivals."

Investment opportunities

With tourism officials preparing to welcome the growing numbers of foreign travelers, golden investment opportunities exist throughout the country's hotel, leisure and hospitality industry as the sector gears up for a major construction program.

Poised to become one of the world's premier luxury resort destinations, Anahita World Class Sanctuary brings together the best of Mauritian lifestyle, culture and hospitality in one superb domain.

The stunning resort offers guests a wide variety of recreational, cultural and social facilities and activities that have been crafted to the highest international standards, while embracing sustainability principles.

Developed by industry experts and specialists of Ciel Properties Limited, Anahita features 325 luxury private residences comprised of 70 waterfront residences, 200 estate villas, 15 golf villas and 40 golf lodges.

The beautiful and tastefully designed resort features the luxury Four Seasons Resort Mauritius, along with an 18-hole signature golf course designed by South African professional golfing champion Ernie Els.

Integrated resorts scheme

The award-winning resort is a clear sign of the government's commitment to the securing of significant foreign direct investment. This is because Anahita is being developed under the Integrated Resorts Scheme.

This successful initiative was launched in 2002 by government officials in conjunction with the BOI in a bold move that aimed to facilitate investment and the acquisition of luxury residences by foreigners such as businessmen from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Considering the huge investment, the scale of the project and the quality of various partnerships, Anahita is clearly the most important Integrated Resorts Scheme project in Mauritius and setting the standard for future developments on the island.

Such initiatives have raised awareness and helped Mauritius secure a strong foothold in the competitive global tourism industry.

As A Karl Mootoosamy, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority explained: "We are working hard to attract more tourists from China. There is a rising middle class in China and Mauritius should be able to capture a small share of those outbound tourists. We need to establish more air links and would be very happy to invite any Chinese airline to fly direct from Beijing or Shanghai."

(China Daily 10/13/2010 page7)