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Mauritius Tourism Revenue Fell In 2013

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Mauritius saw an 8.6 percent fall in gross tourism receipts to MUR40.55 billion rupees (USD$1.35 billion) in 2013 from a year earlier as the global economic slump changed consumer spending habits, officials said on Thursday.

The tourism sector is a key driver of the Indian Ocean island's USD$10 billion economy. But long-haul luxury destinations like Mauritius have suffered as the global economic slowdown discourages visitors.

The Bank of Mauritius said overall tourist arrivals rose 2.9 percent to 993,106 last year, while arrivals from Europe, the Indian Ocean island main market, fell 1.5 percent to 547,046 in 2013.

Mauritius, like its rival long-haul destinations in the region, has turned east in search of sun-worshippers wanting a slice of the island paradise to compensate for weak growth in more traditional European markets.

Arrivals from Asia - still a relatively small market by numbers - leapt 65.5 percent in January this year, helping offset a 1.9 percent decline in visitors from Europe.

Visitor numbers from China grew 298.7 percent in the same period to 6,706 from 1,682 a year earlier.

(Reuters)