The Tourism Industry
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The tourism industry is of great importance to the local economy. With nearly 700,000 tourists in 2003 to the island and with earnings of around Rs 19 billion, tourism is a major foreign currency earner and a significant provider of employment. There is no doubt that the tourist industry has contributed to the economy of the Republic and to the standard of living of the people.
The number of tourists coming to the island has steadily increased from 150,000 in 1985 to 570,000 in 1998 whilst the earnings have gone up from Rs 845 millions to over Rs 11.5 billions respectively. To cater for this spectacular increase in tourists, the number of hotels has shot up from 55 to 90 in the same time period.
The majority of hotels have been built on the coast because the main attraction for tourists in Mauritius is the sea and its beaches. There is a concentration of hotels in the north-west ( The Trou-aux-Biches to Grand Baie region) , the west (Flic en Flac up to Le Morne) and to the east ( Belle-Mare).
This distribution of hotels is due to the fact that the most beautiful and scenic beaches are to be found at those locations.
As the number of arrivals of tourists is expected to increase steadily over the next few years there is considerable pressure from property developers to obtain permission from government for the construction of more hotels around the coastline.
Unfortunately, one major characteristics of hotel construction in Mauritius is the fact that most hotels have been and are being built directly on the sea front. This means that the hotel is sandwiched between the seashore and the coastal road. In consequence, more hotel construction means reduced public access to the same beaches.
In view of the fact that due to an increase in wealth and standard of living of the local population, more and more people spend time at the seaside on weekends and holidays, there is an increased demand by the public for more public beaches and better amenities on site. This obviously conflicts with the demand from property developers for more sea frontage.
Potential for conflicts is now real. The further development of tourism will require on behalf of government new policies that can reconcile the legitimate demands of the population for more leisure amenities and that of the tourism industry.
In that perspective, the government is encouraging the development of inland tourism and eco-tourism. The idea is to encourage tourists to visit the interior of the island and its sites. The island has much to offer in that respect.
Sandy Beaches of the Island
Tourist Arrivals and Hotel Statistics
Eco-Tourism & Inland Tourism
Places Of Interest
Ces Hôtels qui font peur, un document de réflexion par Mr. T. Chateau sur le tourisme (Août 2002)
Interview by Le Week End of Nando Bodha, Minister for Tourism: « Nous n'avons pas eu une bonne croissance pour les six premiers mois de l'année " (August 2001)
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Date on the web: Thursday, January 29, 1998
Last update: 22nd December 2004