The Mauritius Tourism Authority
THE MAURITIUS TOURISM AUTHORITY (MTPA) was borne out of the Mauritius Government Tourist Office, an institution set up in 1959 in order to promote the island as the tourist hot-spot that it is recognised as today.
With the growth in the tourism industry, the Government fervently considered the need of Mauritius for a dedicated promotion agency for tourism, creating a new entity which would be able to operate more flexibly and with better efficiency in meeting the new challenges and impetus put on the industry.
In the early days there was an average of 7,700 tourist arrivals and only two hotels operating on the island; now 30 years later, with the MTPA in full flow, the landscape of tourism in Mauritius has changed dramatically, with tourist arrivals sitting at 480,000 and approximately 90 hotels for them to chose from.
Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority talks to Africa Outlook about the exciting work of the Authority to make it the success it is today, alongside the plans for the future to take tourism in Mauritius to the next level.
Africa Outlook (AfO): Since inception, how has Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority developed and progressed in terms of its key objectives and the messages it tries to portray?
Kevin Ramkaloan (KR): The MTPA is acting specifically in the promotion of the destination in all our key markets and also in selected new markets where we believe there are opportunities for strong growth. We count on a local team of approximately 50 persons and on 10 overseas representative offices.
Our key message has unwaveringly been to promote Mauritius as a lifestyle and all-year round destination to reach our targets. We also focus on niche segments, including golf, sports and eco-tourism among others.
AfO: Taking a more general industry stance, how would you evaluate the tourism sector in Mauritius now compared to its condition when the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority began?
KR: There has been a marked focus on professionalising the tourism industry in Mauritius, which has yielded positive results for this sector, and recorded an annual increase in tourism arrivals from 2010. Subsequently this has also resulted in an increase in the number of hotels and room capacity across the island.
As at June 2017, there are 394 tour-operators listed in the following categories: DMC, Tour Organiser, Outdoor Tour Operator and Online Tour operator and going forward, ongoing and healthy public/private sector dialogue is key to developing further and growing the tourism industry. There is a need to work together in the tourism sector to take Mauritius to the next level in guest experience and ensure the island keeps its leading position as a global destination.
AfO: What is in store for Mauritius over the course of 2017 and beyond to continue the good work already commenced and to enhance its reputation as a tourism and business travel hub further in the future?
KR: Mauritius has acquired a global reputation as a leading destination for excellence in hospitality. The sector operates within a growth market with tourist arrivals posting healthy doubledigit increases since 2015. However, it is also an extremely competitive environment and we have to continue delivering a world-class, seamless experience to both business and leisure travellers.
As an industry, we need to focus on strengthening the emerging market and diversifying new markets and the successful completion of the Africa-Asia Air Corridor offers high prospects for the growth of the economy.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to introduce a direct flight from Amsterdam to Mauritius from October this year, in co-operation with Air Mauritius. Using KLM’s extensive network will enhance the flights offered to Mauritius from Amsterdam and across Europe.
AfO: Finally, looking forward, if we were to speak again in three-five years’ time, what progress and development would you hope and expect to be able to report back, both in regard to the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority as an entity, and in regard to the business travel industry in Mauritius as a whole?
KR: As the MTPA, our focus is to be better staffed and, with a fully computerised IT system, be more responsive, adaptable and increase our efficiencies, effectiveness and decisionmaking processes.
We are working towards introducing dedicated teams to retain and grow current markets and to develop new markets; we will increase the role of e-marketing, and engage proactively within our market segments such as sports tourism, the cruise market etc.
Mauritius has successfully established itself as a business hub on the AsiaAfrica Air Corridor, within the tourism industry and financial services sectors, working together closely to achieve the objective of making Mauritius the preferred hub on the Asia-Africa Corridor. www.tourism-mauritius.mu