An Analysis of Tourist Arrivals, Spending and Other Trends in the Tourism Industry of Mauritius

Karim Jaufeerally

Institute for Environmental and Legal Studies, Moka, Mauritius
13th of January 2000

Amended 27th of February 2000

Return to: Tourism in Mauritius


An analysis of tourism arrivals in Mauritius is carried out using a number of statistics compiled by the Central statistical Office. A number of ratios are devised and plotted as time series from 1979 onwards. Interesting trends emerge that may be of use for management purposes. The Ratios calculated are as follows: Number of Nights spent per Tourist, Discounted Earnings per Tourist, Discounted Earnings per Night, Contribution to GDP per Tourism Earnings, Discounted Contribution to GDP per Tourist, Percentage of Nights spent in Hotels, Nights spent per Tourist in Hotels and Nights spent per Tourist in Informal Accommodation, Average Expenditure per Tourist residing in Hotels and Average Expenditure per Tourist residing in Informal Accommodation. It was found that there has been a dropped in the number of nights spent per Tourist for the last years and that Discounted Earnings per Tourist has stayed flat from 1988 to 1998. It was also found that although only 25% of tourists reside outside the Hotel sector, those tourists make up 40% of nights spent on the island and represent 14.5% of the earnings accruing from Tourism. Finally it was found that from 1990 to 1997, although GDP (in 1997 Us $) for European countries has increased by 10% on average, and that arrivals from Europe has gone from 43% of the total to 58%, Discounted spending per Tourist from a number of European countries has remained flat. The main findings are that the continued success of tourism in Mauritius rests significantly on tourists residing outside the Hotel sector and that in real terms Mauritius has become a cheaper destination for Europeans.


Tourism is still very much a growth industry in Mauritius. There is no doubt that tourism has contributed much to the economic progress of the island and to the general welfare of its inhabitants. Indeed, tourism is the third pillar of the Mauritian economy and foreign earnings from tourism (Rs 9.0 billion) surpasses earnings from sugar (Rs 8.0 billion), 1996 figures. This fact alone is indicative of the importance of that sector for the local economy. It is obvious that tourism will continue to be an important contributor to the economy in the coming decades.

Government and most operators in the sector expect tourism arrivals to increase significantly in the coming years. In view of the possible increase in arrivals, it becomes important to study and understand the dynamics of that industry, its impact on the environment whether physical or social and the manifold implications an increase in arrivals will bring about for Mauritius. There is also a need to discuss, at all levels of Mauritian society, the future of this industry and whether the path it is taking is sustainable and desirable for all concerned. The aim of this paper is not to provide ready-made answers to the above nor to portray tourism in Mauritius with all its complexities, but rather to offer avenues of thought for future debate and research.


Statistics on tourism are used to calculate a number of ratios for the years 1979 onwards and displayed graphically. The ratios and the method of calculation are shown below. Refer to the appendix for data tables and calculated values.

(a) Number of nights spent per tourist

This ratio is calculated by dividing the total number of nights spent by tourists in any given year by tourism arrivals for the same year. 

Nights Per Tourist = Visitors' Nights / Tourism Arrivals

(b) Discounted earnings per tourist

This ratio is a measure of the money spent by each tourist during his or her stay in real terms in the given year. To calculate the discounted earnings per tourist for each given year, the annual inflation rate since 1980 must be compounded with the rates of all succeeding years giving rise to a discount factor for each year from 1979 to 1998. Earnings are then divided by Arrivals and the resultant divided by the discount factor. This gives the Discounted Earnings per Tourist.

Discounted Earnings per Tourist = (Tourism Earnings) / (Arrivals x Discount Factor)

(c) Discounted Earnings per Night

This ratio measures Tourism Earnings per Night spent in Mauritius in real terms from 1979 to 1998 as the annual inflation rate has been discounted.

It is calculated as follows:

Ratio = (Tourism Earnings) / (Nights spent X Discount Rate)

(d) Contribution to GDP per Tourism Earnings

The Mauritius Employers Federation published an estimate of the annual contribution of Tourism Earnings to the annual Gross Domestic Product of Mauritius. By dividing this computed annual contribution to GDP by the tourism earnings for the corresponding year from 1979 onwards a time series ratio is obtained.

Ratio = Contribution to GDP by Tourism / Tourism Earnings

This ratio is a measure of percentage of earnings from tourism that really stays in the country.

(e) Discounted Contribution to GDP per Tourist

The Discounted Contribution to GDP per Tourist is calculated by discounting the yearly contribution to GDP from tourism earnings by the compounded inflation rate since 1979 and dividing the resultant by Tourism Arrivals.

Ratio = Contribution to GDP / (Discount Rate X Arrivals)


(f) Percentage of nights spent in hotels

To calculate the total number of nights spent in Hotels each year the following data is required: the number of beds available in all hotels and the bed occupancy rate for all hotels from 1986 to 1998.

Total Number of Nights spent in Hotels = (No of Beds Available X 365 X Bed Occupancy Rate)

Percentage of Nights spent in Hotels = (Total Number of Nights spent in Hotels) / (Total No of Nights spent by Tourists in Mauritius) X 100

(g) Nights per Tourist in hotels Vs Nights per Tourist in informal accommodation  

In 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998, Government carried out surveys on out going tourists. In those surveys, the percentage of tourists in the surveys that resided in Hotels or in Informal Accommodation has been computed. Assuming that this percentage reflects the reality, then it is possible to calculate, on average, the number of nights spent per tourist in Hotels versus the number of nights spent per tourist in Informal Accommodation.

Number of Nights per Tourist Residing in Hotels = (Number of Nights spent in Hotels) / (% of Tourists Residing in Hotels X Tourist Arrivals)

Number of Nights per Tourist Not Residing in Hotels = (Number of nights in informal accommodation) / (% of Tourists Not Residing in Hotels X Tourist Arrival)

(h) Spending per Tourist Residing in Hotels Vs Spending per Tourist Residing in Informal Accommodation

From the Government surveys of 1994, 1996 and 1998, the percentage of tourists that resided in hotels is known as well as an estimate of spending per tourist residing in hotels. From those figures it is possible to calculate the average spending per tourist residing in informal accommodation.

Tourism Earnings = TE

Tourism Arrivals = TA

Percentage of Tourists Residing in Hotels = %H

Average Spending per tourist residing in hotels from Government Survey = ASH

Average Spending per Tourist Residing in Informal Accommodation = ASI

ASI = (TE - (TA x %H x ASH)) / (TA x (1-H%)

(i) Gross Domestic Product of 10 European Countries sources of Tourists to Mauritius Vs Discounted Spending per Tourist

The GDP, in 1997 US $, from 1990 to 1997 of the following countries has been obtained from the United Nations' Web site: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

From the above figures, an average increase in real GDP for the above ten countries can be had. This is contrasted against the earning per tourist expressed in 1997 Rs.

(j) & (k) Discounted Spending per Tourist According to Country of Origin and Discounted Spending per Tourist as a Percentage of GDP for a Number of European Tourists

The Government surveys of outgoing tourists from 1990 to 1998 publish an estimate of spending per tourist according to country of origin. For France, Germany, Italy, switzerland, the U.K, Reunion Island and south Africa figures are available. With 1997 as a baseline year, the discounted spending per tourist is calculated for the above countries. This spending per tourist can then be expressed in 1997 Us $ and expressed as a percentage of their respective GDP from 1990 to 1997. The results are displayed graphically.

Results and Discussion

(a) Nights per Tourist

The first ratio calculated is that of the number of nights spent per tourist since 1979 (fig 1) . It is immediately clear that the variation is not great. The ratio oscillates between 10 and 12 nights per tourist. However there has been a drop since 1993 and it is not clear whether this is a long-term trend or whether it will pick up in the coming years. Should it remain around 10 nights per tourist in the following years then there is cause for concern as a loss of 2 nights over the course of a decade could mean that, on average, tourists find it either uninteresting or unaffordable to stay longer on the island.

(b) Discounted Earning per Tourist (DET)

This ratio is particularly interesting, as it is a measure of the amount of money spent per tourist during his or her stay in Mauritius. Furthermore, as the yearly inflation has been discounted since 1979, the earnings per tourist can be compared year after year. For that purpose, a graph of discounted earnings per tourist against time is plotted (fig 2).

The graph can be divided into three distinctive parts. The first part is a base line spending from 1979 to 1984 that stays roughly the same. In the second part, suddenly, as from 1985 till 1988 the earnings increase dramatically from about Rs 2000 to about Rs 4000 (in constant 1979 rupees). This doubling, in effect, occurs over a rather short span of time. Finally from 1988 till 1998, remarkably, the earnings remain of the same order of magnitude. There is virtually no increase in tourist spending for over a decade if one takes into account the role of inflation. A plateau has been reached.

It is not an easy matter to explain the presence of three distinctive parts to the graph. Presumably the flat base line spending from 1979 to 1984 is due to the fact that during this period the hotel infrastructure was not that developed, there were few shops, restaurants or club houses that could adequately cater for the needs of tourists. Hence the stagnant earnings of that period.

From 1985 to 1988 the discounted earning per tourists doubles in magnitude. This sudden increase in spending has a number of different causative factors, some of which are discussed below. The opening up of hotels with higher standards and the major uplifting of existing hotels must have significantly contributed by offering better service and thus charging higher prices. The economic boom of the mid eighties undoubtedly contributed in boosting earnings by providing better and more extensive services to tourists like shops, restaurants and excursion tours. Furthermore the local availability of textile products manufactured in the export processing zones must have also been a significant factor.

From 1988 to 1998, the spending per tourist hovers around Rs 4000 (in constant 1979 rupees), as if a plateau had been reached. There is no sign of increase at all. The existence of this plateau over a period of ten years is surprising to say the least. In effect a tourist who came a decade ago spends about the same as a tourist who comes today. Why is that so? Several explanations can be brought forward.

It can be argued that, overall, the tourism product on offer has basically not evolved much over a decade and that tourists make use of virtually the same types of services nowadays as in 1988. In effect, Mauritius is offering more of the same, that is beach tourism essentially.

On the other hand it could indicate that tourists get better value for money, in effect that the increase in quality of the tourism product has not brought about a corresponding increase in real revenue per tourist. (Note that a combination of the two factors is also possible)

One could also argue that spending in Mauritius has reached a maximum in the sense that one cannot expect tourists to spend more and more, as after all their pockets do have limits!

This steady plateau also indicates that from a sociological perspective Mauritius has been attracting tourists from the same social classes from 1988 to 1998. If one refers to the survey of outgoing tourists carried out by Government in 1996, 53% of the interviewees in employment were professionals or managers while the rest were either technicians or had occupations at or below the clerical level (page 6). In view of the spending plateau reached, it is reasonable to argue that Mauritius has been and is attracting mainly middle class people.

Mauritius has yet to see the so-called high spender tourists becoming a significant contributor to that industry. Indeed, one only has to look at the outgoing tourist survey of 1996 to realise that the high spender is really a mere fraction of the whole. For instance 87% of the tourists spend less than Rs 4000 per day per tourist (1996 Rupees). 10% of tourists spend between Rs 4000 to Rs 8000 and the remaining 3% of tourists spending Rs 8000 or more per day per tourist. (The Survey of Outgoing Tourists 1996, Table 18 Page 50). It is clear that the high spenders are a minority and in view of the plateau reached, they should remain a minority in the foreseeable future.

(c) Discounted Earning per Night (D.E.N)

This ratio indicates the earnings that can be expected for each night spent by a tourist in Mauritius. The graph (fig 3) is roughly similar to the DET graph. It is more or less flat from 79 to 84, hovering below Rs 200 then it increases rapidly reaching Rs 335 in 1987. For the next 6 years it hovers around Rs 325. Then, as from 93 it increases rapidly to attain Rs 388 in 1996 drops slightly to Rs 368 in 1997 and then for 1998 there is a slight increase when it comes close to Rs 400.

The rapid rise from 84 to 87 mirrors the same rapid growth seen in the DET graph and it can be safely assumed that the same reasons are at work in both graphs. However as from 1994, there is a marked increase in the DEN, which does not appear in the DET graph for the corresponding years. Why is that?

The answer lies in the fact that at exactly the same time, as from 1994, the number of nights spent per tourist drops significantly from 12.3 to 10.8 while at the same time earnings per tourist stays constant. It follows that earning per night is bound to increase accordingly.

The following equation illustrates that

Nights per Tourist = (Discounted earnings / Tourist Arrivals) / (Discounted earnings / Nights Spent)

Another way of looking at it is that although tourists, on average, spend less nights in Mauritius they tend to spend just as much as before hence necessarily their spending per night is bound to increase accordingly. This increase in earnings per night is providential for if tourists did not increase their spending per night, the drop in nights spent per tourist would have meant a drop in earnings per tourist in real terms. This reinforces the idea that it is crucial to encourage tourists not to decrease the length of their stay on the island. Any further drop in the length of stay may not in the future be so nicely compensated by an increase in spending per night.

(d) Contribution to GDP per Tourism Earnings

Plotting this ratio against time reveals a very interesting graph (fig 4). Before 1984, the ratio is of the order of 50%, meaning that up to fifty percent of the earnings from tourism remain into the local economy. However, as from 1983 this ratio plunges year after year to reach a minimum of 27% in 1988. It remains below 30% from 1988 to 1992. After that it inches its way up to reach 36% in 1997. The remarkable feature of this graph is that it is a reverse image of the discounted earning per tourist graph (fig 2). When the DET was low, the present ratio was high. When DET began rising, simultaneously the ratio began falling and when DET stabilised itself as from 1988, this ratio does likewise. The correspondence is truly stunning. Basically it does show that an increase in discounted earnings per tourist was possible only by an increase in the import content of goods and services consumed by tourists. It is heartening to note however that as from 1993 onwards the ratio has increased somewhat to reach 35%. Presumably it will stabilise to around 40% or less. It is very much doubtful that the ratio will climb back to 50%. It is important to ensure that the ratio does not plunge back to a low 27% as it did in 1988 for this would mean that the majority of the moneys accruing from tourism receipts flow out of the country again. This ratio of (Contribution to GDP) Vs Tourism Earnings is, we believe, of great importance for the future management of tourism in Mauritius. After all, it is the moneys accruing from tourism earnings that remain in the country that really contribute to wealth creation in Mauritius. This is the ultimate and real purpose of developing tourism: to contribute to the creation of wealth in the Republic of Mauritius.

We mentioned earlier on that there appears to be a link between DET and Contribution to GDP per Tourism Earnings. Indeed there is a very strong one. If a graph of DET against contribution/earnings is plotted, the link is immediately apparent (Fig 5). A linear regression line and a quadratic curve can be fitted to the data. The fit for both curves is very good as can be seen by the very high values of R2 obtained. For the regression line R2 is 0.923 and for the quadratic curve R2 is 0.947. R2 is a measure of the degree of association of two variables. The closer it is to unity (1.00) the greater is the association between the two.

(e) Discounted Contribution to GDP per Tourist

Once again this ratio can be plotted from 1979 till 1997. Interestingly enough, the curve obtained is relatively flat (fig 6). From 1979 to 1992 the ratio oscillates between Rs 1000 to Rs 1200, then as from 1993 it begins a very slow climb upwards to reach just under Rs 1400 in 1997. What is happening is that the increase in discounted earnings per tourist and the decrease in contribution to GDP per tourism earnings over the same period of time roughly cancel each other out leaving a relatively flat curve, the discounted contribution to GDP per Tourist. However, it is pleasing to note that over the past years this discounted contribution to GDP per Tourist is on the rise.

(f) Percentage of Nights Spent in Hotels

This percentage is of great importance. The results are displayed graphically (fig 7). It is immediately apparent that this percentage does not vary markedly over time. It is around 55% in 1986, then steadily decreases over time to 45% in 1992 then increases rapidly to about 60% from 1994 to 1998.

Over all it is safe to say that on average the number of nights spent is divided as follows: 60% of nights in hotels and 40% in bungalows, guesthouses or with friends or relatives. From this graph it is clear that the informal accommodation sector represented by bungalows and guesthouses plays a very important role in the industry and clearly shows no sign of dwindling away into insignificance. The informal sector is here to stay and it is important to acknowledge its vital role in that industry. Indeed, the very success of that industry must in part be attributed to this informal sector. Furthermore, the continued success of the tourism industry will definitively rest, in part, on the informal sector. It would be judicious on the part of the concerned authorities should they decide to take appropriate steps to ensure that those tourists who choose to stay in bungalows or guesthouses are guaranteed of obtaining an adequate standard of service and value for money. It is absurd to think that a point will be reached into the future when most if not all nights will be spent in hotels.

There are important considerations that emerge from this ratio. Firstly those tourists residing outside the hotel sector do not automatically benefit from beaches found in front of beach hotels. Therefore they are bound to spend considerable time on the different public beaches found within the vicinity of their accommodation (unless their accommodation is to be found directly onto a beach which may not be the case for every one of them). Hence, the tourism appeal of Mauritius depends in a non-negligible manner on the quality and availability of public beaches or beaches to which the public has access to. It is clear that a sufficient number of public beaches with good public access and with adequate amenities on site are of tremendous import to that industry. Such facilities will also benefit tremendously the mauritian public always in search of legitimate leisurely activities. The opening up or the uplifting of public beaches will, in effect, have a double impact. It will provide much needed leisure space to the public while at the same time increase the tourism appeal of the country as a whole.

Tourists that reside outside of hotels necessarily must spend a fair share of their money directly within the community they are residing in. After all, the food and drinks they consume, the shopping they do, the tours they go on and even the accommodation required must be paid for directly to the locals. The spending of such tourists are therefore spread widely among a whole range of local economic operators. The fact that up to 40% of nights are spent outside hotels does indicate that the spending of such tourists must have a significant impact upon the immediate local economy, a beneficial impact that should not be underestimated by the authorities concerned. Whereas tourists residing in hotels may well contribute less to the economic welfare of the immediate local community as most of their needs are catered for by the hotel itself or the package tour operator.

(g) Nights per Tourist in hotels Vs Nights per Tourist in informal accommodation

In Government surveys, the percentage of tourists that resided in hotels during the years when the surveys were carried out is given. Assuming that this percentage reflects reality, then it is possible to calculate the number of nights spent per tourist by tourists residing in hotels and the number of nights spent per tourist by tourists residing in informal accommodation. Refer to table 1 for the figures.

Table 1

Year Nights per Tourist (in hotels) Nights per Tourist (informal accommodation)
1990 9.40 18.57
1992 7.86 23
1994 9 16.36
1996 8.33 15.65
1998 7.92 17.18

The above table shows that, on average, tourists in hotels spend much less time in Mauritius than tourists in informal accommodation. Presumably this is due to the relative expense of staying in hotels compared to staying in informal types of accommodation. Note that over a lapse of six years the number of nights spent per tourists in both types of accommodation has fallen significantly. As said earlier on, this is not a welcomed trend and it is important to find out reasons for this drop.

(h) Spending per Tourist Residing in Hotels Vs Spending per Tourist Residing in Informal Accommodation

From the Out Going Tourists Government surveys, it is also possible to calculate the average expenditure per tourist residing in the informal sector. The percentage of Tourism earnings arising from tourists residing in the informal sector can also be readily calculated. See the following table.

Table 2

1994 1996 1998
Tourism Earnings (Rs Million) 6,415 9,048 11,890
Tourist Arrivals 400,526 486,867 558,195
Percentage of Tourists Residing in Hotels from Government Survey 74.2 % 74.7 % 77.9%
Average Spending per tourist residing in hotels from Government Survey Rs 18765 Rs 20892 Rs 23,418
Calculated Average Spending per tourist in informal sector  Rs 8112  Rs 11770 Rs 13837
Percentage of Total Earnings Arising from tourists residing in hotels 86.9 % 84 % 85.6%
Percentage of Total Earnings Arising from tourists residing in informal sector 13.1 % 16 % 14.4%

As tourists residing outside hotels spend more time on the island than others and as they do not necessarily have access to the beach facilities available in hotels, it is possible that they circulate more within the island. Those tourists, after all, represent 40% of all nights spent on the island, make up 25% (on average) of the total of arrivals and represent 14.5% of earnings (on average). They will definitely look up for other things to do then just spending time on the beach. It is important that they have the possibility of spending their time on the island in an interesting, enjoyable and cost effective way. Hence the importance of developing leisure activities that cater for their needs and level of sophistication.

Furthermore any leisure activities developed for the circulating tourist (whether residing in hotels or elsewhere) is bound to be of interest to the local population whose needs for leisure grows. Hence original, interesting and affordable leisure activities will benefit both the circulating tourist and the public. A synergy between tourism and leisure will be created whereby one contributes to the welfare of the other. Presently the construction of new hotels is viewed by the public as resulting in less leisure space for itself. This situation is antagonistic and does yield to confrontation that will eventually be detrimental to the tourism industry. It cannot be allowed to gain in momentum.

For the long-term benefit of both the population and the tourism industry, it is crucial that this synergy between tourism and leisure is created. It is suicidal to think in terms of developing the tourism industry as if it were totally separated from leisure. This natural link between the two needs to be reinforced so that each time the tourism infrastructure is developed it beneficial to the leisure needs of the population and each time leisure activities are set up, it is a plus for tourism.

It is interesting to note that the Ministry for Tourism is also the Ministry for Leisure. It does show that the two are not thought to be totally separate by Government.

(i) Gross Domestic Product of 10 European Countries sources of Tourists to Mauritius Vs Discounted Spending per Tourist

From 1990 to 1997, the GDP per capita for ten European Countries sources of tourists to Mauritius has increased in real terms (table 3). The average increase is of the order of 10% for the 10 countries listed below. It is interesting then to contrast these figures for GDP per capita with the Discounted spending per Tourist over the same period of time.

Table 3

Country Percentage increase in real GDP per capita from 1990 to 1997 GDP per capita in $ US (1997)
Austria 14.7% 25550
Belgium 10.9% 23792
France 9.8% 23786
Germany 14.9% 25592
Italy 8% 19912
Netherlands 18.6% 21370
Spain 13% 13511
Sweden 5.5% 25735
Switzerland 0.7% 35978
United Kingdom 12.5% 21823
Average Increase 10.86%

source (United Nations: 1998 statistical Year Book of the UN/ECE, Trends in Europe and North America )

It is amazing to note (table 4) that spending per tourist expressed in 1997 Rupees has decreased in real terms by 5.6% when the GDP per capita for the above-mentioned European Countries has increased by 10%. Furthermore the percentage of arrivals from the above-mentioned European Countries has gone from 43.5% in 1990 to 58.7% in 1997of the total arrivals for each respective years.

Those simple figures do show unequivocally that for Europeans, Mauritius has become a cheaper destination in real terms by at least 10%. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that the destination has become cheaper, it does not seem to entice them in spending more because the overall spending per tourist has dropped by 5.6%. This drop in real spending really does show that tourists do not find much to spend on in Mauritius. The above is confirmed by comments made by tourists as reported by the Out Going Tourist Survey of 1996.


Table 4

Year Earnings Per Tourist (Rs) (Current Rupees) Correction Factor for Inflation (Base year:1997) Earning per Tourist (1997 Rupees)
1990 12450.69 1.5984 19900
1997 18779.20 1.0 18779
Percentage decrease in real terms   5.63%

(j) Discounted Spending per Tourist According to Country of Origin and Discounted Spending per Tourist as a percentage of GDP for a Number of European Tourists

From the Handbook of statistical Data on Tourism 1998 and the Government survey of Outgoing Tourists for 1998, an average expenditure per tourist by country of residence for the years 1990 to 1998 is published. This data has been obtained through surveys of outgoing tourists.

For Europe, only the figures for France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK are available. If these expenditure figures are discounted for inflation with 1990 as base line year it is found that in real terms, spending per tourist from those countries has declined somehow (Fig 8). This is surprising for in real terms the GDP of theses countries has increased significantly over the same period.

Furthermore if the GDP for each of the above countries is plotted against spending per tourist in US $ of 1997 according to nationality (Fig 9), it is seen that there is no obvious link between the two variables. For France and Germany, the tendency is downwards whereas for Italy and the UK it is upwards. Whilst for Switzerland the tendency is to remain within certain bounds.

Finally, there is a third way of looking at the data. This consists of expressing discounted earnings per tourist from a given country as a percentage of the GDP of that same country. GDP and spending are in 1997 US dollars (Table 5).

Table 5

spending as a Percentage of GDP 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
France 4.30 4.25 4.26 4.14 3.96 3.87 3.77
Germany 6.90 6.62 6.64 6.33 5.98 5.74 5.49
Italy 7.38 7.11 7.03 6.30 5.63 5.82 6.04
Switzerland 4.03 3.94 3.90 3.99 4.12 4.09 4.07
UK 7.70 7.59 7.52 6.71 6.04 6.17 6.24

It can be seen from the above that there is a general tendency for spending in real terms to decrease as a percentage of GDP (fig 10). It is clear that for the above European countries Mauritius is becoming a cheaper destination. Of course this percentage will not continue to fall, but will undoubtedly stabilise at some value. For example it can be seen at once that for Switzerland, this percentage will most probably oscillate around 4.0%. The percentage for France too shows signs of stabilisation.

Note that for the years 1991, 1993 and 1995 when no surveys were carried out, a simple interpolation was carried out to estimate values for those years as explained in the Appendix.

(k) Discounted Spending per Tourist from Reunion and South Africa

These two countries are important sources of tourists for Mauritius. In 1998, 83,966 arrivals were registered from Reunion Island and 49,676 arrivals were registered from South Africa. From the Government surveys of 1990 to 1998, the average spending per tourist from these two countries can be had. Discounting spending per tourist for local inflation from 1990 onwards reveals that for Reunion Island Spending per tourist has stayed remarkably constant from Rs 6097 in 1990 to Rs 5956 in 1998 (constant 1990 Rupees). Whereas spending per tourist from South Africa has shown a dramatic fall from Rs 12,415 in 1990 to Rs 9,519 in 1998 (constant 1990 Rupees). (Fig 11)

This constant spending pattern from Reunion tourists shows yet again that basically the tourism product on offer has stayed the same those past years. Whereas the dramatic fall in real spending per tourist from South Africa could be linked with the uneasy political situation of the period, the economic difficulties facing that country and the fall in the value of the South African Rand versus most currencies including the Rupee.


This paper has shown how relatively simple ratios, calculated from easily obtainable statistics, can be of interest for stakeholders in the tourism industry. They are bound to be useful when planning for the future of tourism in Mauritius. We believe that future research can yield many more such ratios that can act as indicators, marking the path tourism is taking in Mauritius. In a second paper we propose to analyse the links there are between the GDP of European countries and arrivals from these countries.

Click here for the Appendix


  1. Central statistical Office, International Travel and Tourism Statistics, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998
  2. Ministry of Tourism, survey of Outgoing Tourists, 1996 and 1998
  3. Mauritius Employers Federation, The Thirty Nine Steps, 1998
  4. Ministry for Tourism and Leisure, Handbook of Statistical Data on Tourism, 1997, 1998
  5. 1998 Statistical Year Book of the UN/ECE, Trends in Europe and North America