GIS - September 07, 2012: The first day of the third edition of the World Chinese Conference, being held at the Grand Baie International Conference Centre, was marked yesterday by the interventions at the business forum of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Dr Arvin Boolell; the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr. Mookhesswur Choonee, and the Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Mr. Michael Sik Yuen, on investment opportunities in Mauritius.
The objective of the business forum was to promote the advantages of Mauritius as an investment destination and particularly as an ideal gateway for investments going in the African region to the foreign delegates participating at the World Chinese Conference.
During the forum, the Minister of Tourism and Leisure, Mr. Michael Sik Yuen, announced that the national airline, Air Mauritius, will operate direct flights to Shanghai twice weekly as from January 2013, in line with the government’s new destination promotion strategy to mitigate the impacts of the Euro zone crisis. “Our objective is to double the number of Chinese tourists on a yearly basis, starting as from 2013”, said the Minister.
As part of this endeavour, the Minister will lead a delegation comprising representatives of the Tourism Promotion Authority, the Association des Hôteliers et des Restaurateurs de Ile Maurice (AHRIM) and Air Mauritius to China shortly to market the destination and engage the major Chinese tour operators with a view to enlisting their commitment to promote and sell our destination more aggressively.
The Minister also announced the development of an eco-labelling standard for the tourism sector in collaboration with the Mauritius Standards Bureau and in consonance with the objectives of Maurice Ile Durable. The label aims at effectively positioning the tourism sector as a “green industry” and supporting the tourist enterprises in their drive to be environmentally compliant through the adoption of eco-friendly practices such as energy-saving devices, renewable energy supplies and installation of desalination and recycling plants.
For his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Dr Arvin Boolell, highlighted the immense contribution of the Mauritians of Chinese descent in the socio-economic development of the country and in shaping modern Mauritius. He also pointed out the considerable development assistance extended by the People’s Republic of China to Mauritius especially in the last four years as part of bilateral economy and trade relations as well as economic and technological cooperation.
Dr Boolell spoke of the way forward in the relationship between Mauritius and China with focus on the consolidation of our bilateral ties through the establishment of enhanced structures and framework, addressing the imbalance in trade deficits between Mauritius and China under the preferential trade agreement, promotion of investment opportunities among Chinese entrepreneurs and greater connectivity between the people of the two countries, among others.
Addressing the Conference, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr. Mookhesswur Choonee, stated that with its diversity of languages, Mauritius has an important role as gateway to Africa. The Minister said that with its cultural diversity, Mauritius has the potential to offer a new form of art to the world. He presented the investment opportunities available in the newly established creative industry namely the film framework. The film framework has been created by the Government to encourage the setting up of a film industry and attract international film producers of repute. One of the main incentives of the framework is the provision of 25% rebate to film makers on all qualified production expenditure.