Speaking at the recent Investors Forum event held during World Travel Market 2018 (WTM) expo in Cape town, a director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) Mr Vijaycoomarsingh Bhujohory put some historical tourism cornerstones into perspective which have laid the foundation of how Mauritius became a tourism powerhouse in the Indian Ocean Islands region.
“South Africa played a major role in the development of tourism in Mauritius. In the early 80s, our main tourist inflow came from South Africa. Our national airline, Air Mauritius, benefitted from the expertise of South African Airways (SAA) in the purchase of our first wide bodied aircraft and in the training of the technical crew. The first luxury hotel in Mauritius, Le St Geran, was built by the South African hotel tycoon Sol Kerzner. Le St Geran redefined and set the benchmark for luxury in our hotel industry.”
The theme of ‘Unlocking the Tourism Potential of Africa’ is happening while global tourism is expected to contribute around 3.5% to the Global GDP for the next 10 years” he said.
Mr Bhujohory also pointed out that although Africa has enormous potential, long standing issues such as security, economic stability and infrastructure are constant challenges that have a definite impact on doing business on the continent.
This is where Mauritius has risen to the occasion ranking up 25th place out of 190 countries according to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018, a proud validation of its vibrant tourist industry ahead of Rwanda (41st), Morrocco (69th), Kenya (80th) and South Africa (82nd).
“Africa must rise to its challenges and adopt effective strategies to promote a more competitive Africa in the marketplace which meets with the demands and expectation of prospective visitors. Africa’s vast tourism potentials need to be fully exploited to foster development and increase its participation in the global economy. I believe that sustainability should be at the heart of Africa’s vision and decision making.”
“Mauritius ranks top in terms of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, access to electricity, protecting minority investors, cross-border trade, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and tax payments”. Various administrative reforms and legislative amendments have also been done to improve procedures thus contributing towards doing business in Mauritius.
“Africa must rise to its challenges and adopt effective strategies to promote a more competitive Africa in the marketplace which meets with the demands and expectation of prospective visitors. Africa’s vast tourism potentials need to be fully exploited to foster development and increase its participation in the global economy. I believe that sustainability should be at the heart of Africa’s vision and decision making.” The director said.
Endorsing his country’s support of the WTM expo where market leaders gather to network, exchange and promote tourism products, the WTM Africa 2018 is an excellent platform: “I am confident that it will be an enriching session, by the end of which Africa will be better equipped to increase its visibility and competitiveness in the rapidly changing marketplace.”
In conclusion, it was Mr Bhujohory’s personal wish to see Johannesburg’s O.R.Tambo International Airport grow into a World class hub for sub Saharan markets with air traffic doubling in the coming years, thereby fuelling South Africa’s economy.
In positive hindsight, any economic growth will most definitely benefit neighbouring countries, especially Mauritius and the Indian Ocean Islands region in the future.