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Coronavirus: Situation of the tourism sector of Mauritius monitored

Date: January 31, 2020
Domain:Health; Tourism
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen

GIS – 31 January, 2020: The tourism sector of Mauritius will have a visibility up to March 2020 and current figures show that the sector will not be unduly affected at least till that period with the emergence of the novel Coronavirus in China.  Figures for tourist arrivals for January from other countries, in particular from traditional markets, are likewise encouraging.
The Minister of Tourism, Mr Georges Pierre Lesjongard was speaking, yesterday afternoon during a press conference at Air Mauritius Building, in Port-Louis, to give an overview of the current situation prevailing with regards to the impact of the Coronavirus on the tourism sector of Mauritius.
At the level of the Ministry, appropriate actions have been initiated since Wednesday 29 January 2020 and the collaboration of all stakeholders from the industry has been sought and the situation is being closely monitored, he assured.  The alternative is to continue to stimulate European markets so as to boost the tourism sector and concentrate on diversifying emerging markets such as India and Arabian countries.  Campaigns to promote tourist arrivals from countries in the region are also being carried out, said the Minister.
The Minister expressed confidence that for the next three months, the Coronavirus will not affect tourist arrivals in Mauritius, except if the situation really deteriorates worldwide.  He was optimistic that in the days and weeks to come, a solution will be found to stop the spread of that virus.
The novel Coronavirus, Mr Lesjongard recalled, is affecting many sectors worldwide ranging from international trade, industry, air traffic and the tourism sector.  Many countries are taking the necessary sanitary precautions and appropriate protocols are set in motion to keep populations safe, he pointed out.  In Mauritius too, measures are initiated at the level of Ministries, departments and at the Airport to counter the issue. The Mauritian Government will channel necessary information to the population as the situation evolves, he said.
Speaking about the Chinese market, the Minister observed that during the years, China has become a key player for the tourism sector of Mauritius.  It is also however true that in the past two years, tourist arrivals from China have declined, he conceded. Figures show that for 2019, 42 000 Chinese tourists visited Mauritius, against 65 700 in 2018.  There was already a decline at that time in tourist arrivals due to a decrease in flights from China, he stated.
Presently, Air Mauritius in the same vein as British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Austral and other airline companies, has cancelled flights to Shanghai until further notice with the advent of the novel Coronavirus.  Thus, on the basis of that decision, there will be an impact on the tourism sector of Mauritius, he highlighted.
In fact, from 26 to 30 January 2020, Air Mauritius has registered a 75% cancellation rate, resulting in an estimated shortfall by one thousand in terms of tourist arrivals from China.  February will be a challenging period for Mauritius and it is difficult to make a projection on what the overall impact will be on the tourism industry till the end of 2020, he further noted.
Finally, Mr Lesjongard underlined, Mauritius might become a refuge destination as there are many tourists who might avoid travelling to Asian countries and instead choose to visit Mauritius.  Consequently, active marketing and promotion campaigns have been triggered to attract these tourists and give an additional boost to the sector, he added.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email:  Website:  Mobile App: Search Gov
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