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Mauritius Tourist Arrivals Edge Up In H1

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The number of tourists visiting Mauritius rose 1 percent in the first six months of 2013 as a rise in visitors from Asia offset a drop in tourists from Europe, official data showed on Friday.

Visitor arrivals from Europe, the Indian Ocean island's core market, fell 5.5 percent to 264,200 while tourists from Asia rose 24.9 percent to 64,124, Statistics Mauritius said.

Visitor arrivals to the island totaled 471,664 in January-June.

Mauritius is a popular leisure destination, but the European economic slowdown has weighed heavily on tourism and the government is keen to develop new Asian markets.

Last year tourist numbers rose by only 0.1 percent.

The number of visitors from China jumped 77.4 percent in the first six months of this year to 17,090, reflecting the island's efforts to diversify into new markets, data showed.

Tourists from France, Mauritius's single biggest market, fell 9.6 percent to 124,194.

Tourism accounts for about 8 percent of gross domestic product for Mauritius' USD$10 billion economy.

The government has said it expects tourist arrivals to grow by 2.5 percent this year to 990,000 while the Bank of Mauritius expects earnings from tourism for the year to rise to MUR46.1 billion Mauritius rupees (USD$1.5 billion) from MUR44.4 billion in 2012.

(Reuters)

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