Mauritius 2011 Tourism Numbers Below Forecast

January 18, 2012

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Tourist numbers in Mauritius rose by a lower-than-expected 3.1 percent to 964,642 visitors last year, due in large part to sluggish growth in the eurozone, a key market, official data showed.

The tourism industry, a key driver of growth for the Indian Ocean island, will perk up next year, the statistics office said, with arrival numbers in 2012 seen increasing by more than 5 percent year-on-year to over a million people.

Mauritius had forecast as recently as November that some 980,000 tourists would land on its palm-fringed shores in 2011. Finance minister Xavier Duval said in his 2012 budget speech that more funds would be made available for an international marketing campaign.

Mauritius wants to tap new markets, especially in Asia. Visitor numbers from China grew by 98.9 percent to 15,133 last year. But the number of visitors from France, one of Mauritius' main tourism markets, heading to the island declined.

Numbers from the UK fell heavily, down almost 10 percent on 2010.

(Reuters)