China outbound tourism hot destination
A sense of crisis is hardly what greets visitors to the resorts dotted along the coast of Mauritius. Flic en Flac in the Southwest, for example, tourists loll in series through their hotel pools between bouts of paddling in the Indian Ocean, north of Grand Baie, the approach is quiet on the sea in the direction of white sand and large houses in the protection the pine and palm trees.
In his office in the center of Port Louis, the capital, Michael Yeung Sik Yuen, Minister of Tourism, rewinds the latest statistics on the number of tourists, the assessment of the image they present in a pragmatic way.
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We have to adapt to this world , "he says , noting a sharp decline in visitors from France: " They fit or you die . " Since the economic crisis in 2008, Mauritius has had a tough job in the gaps by a drop off in the number of European tourists allowed to come to the island. Hotels have many empty rooms and a high debt , extended with strong during the pre-crisis boom.
Tourism crisisIn response, the government , tour operators and hotels have pursued, on a common strategy to adapt to survive . While the hope of a revival in demand in Europe for long distance travel in paradise destinations , they have diversified to less traditional markets. Among them are the United Arab Emirates , Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union and China in particular .
The crisis of recent years has a real one. Tourism accounts for about one-tenth of the gross domestic product of Mauritius , in addition to sugar , the offshore financial industry and textiles, so called from the island "pillars " of development. The number of tourists last year to just 0.1 per cent to 965,000 , well below the forecast five years ago from 1.5 m up to this point . Tourist numbers from France , the island 's most important market , fell by nearly 10 percent in the first seven months of 2013. " In a market of 260,000 [French Visitor] last year , represent a decline of 10 percent," says Mr Yeung Sik Yuen. " You feel it . " Suffer Island Hotels , says Francois Eynaud , President of the porch Leisure and hospitality , a great local hotel group. Mauritius has a serious " problem of overcapacity ," he adds.
" Arrivals will not grow fast enough to [ match] the construction of the new rooms . "
Hotel executives estimate that the number of rooms has increased by more than a third since 2007, while the tourists have more or less stagnant. Utilization, which hit a record 76 percent the year before the financial crash , expected to be 60 percent this year .
Increase of Chinese touristHence the attractiveness of the Chinese market . However, Mauritius was slow to realize their potential , in comparison with some of its competitors in the Indian Ocean tourism. " The Maldives was already before 2008 ," says Mr Yeung Sik Yuen. " The Maldives are closer to China We started around 2010 , . . Become more visible since the last year of Mauritius in the Chinese market "
Over the past year 20,000 Chinese tourists to Mauritius , added the minister , this year, " we will probably reach 45,000 ."
" Since January, we have two direct flights per week from Shanghai and one in Beijing since July," says Mr Yeung Sik Yuen
"We had a lot of advertising , workshops, press trips and familiarization trips for tour operators . We hope to at least double [ the number of tourists from China ] every year." "We urgently need the Chinese," says Mr. Eynaud . That is, as tourists from emerging countries have some way to go before they match what Mauritians have come to expect from their traditional European visitors .
"We need two Chinese every European tourists, we replace lost ," says Jocelyn Kwok , Chief Executive of the Association of Hoteliers et Restaurateurs of Mauritius. On average, Chinese tourists spend only four to five days in the country, against eight for 12 for French tourists and a Briton .
The reaction of some hotel groups was to offer big discounts . Critics have often claimed that this threatening position Mauritius as a competitor to the Caribbean for wealthy clientele.
Today is the impression that with Mauritius diversification of its long-standing European markets, its best approach is not so much aggressive price wars as acceptance of different prices for different regions for the benefit of tourism in general .
"We put more emphasis on other new markets for us , such as the CIS [ former Soviet Union ] countries," says Mr Yeung Sik Yuen. For Russia, " as far as it is a question of the direct route. We have four weekly flights approved for Aeroflot, but waiting for the green light from their country. " Mauritius was also the concentration of a " lot of effort " for the Czech Republic.
Dubai Tourism"Our market in the UAE grew by 78 percent in the first seven months of the year , " he adds. " We have a lot of familiarization trips and road shows in various cities of the Middle East. "
Instead of damaging the Mauritian brand ", this is the solution ," argues Mr Yeung Sik Yuen. Different rates between the groups "fills a hotel - Asians , [ people ] in the Middle East, European," he says.
" The model has changed. " Previously Mauritius was only really works in the European market , as it works today in many others.
Written by tracy