Mauritius is hoping to replace European with Chinese tourists
Competing with Indian Ocean getaways the Maldives and the Seychelles, Mauritius has been working hard to attract more Chinese visitors to offset a drop in European visitors to the region. Since the 2008 financial crisis, tourist numbers from Europe have been in decline while the number of Chinese visitors has grown rapidly. Arrivals from Europe fell 1.5 percent in 2013, but Chinese visitor numbers grew by a staggering 100.7 percent in 2013, according to figures from Mauritius’ official tourism authority. This amounted to a total of 41,913 Chinese visitors for the year, up from 20,885 in 2012. Chinese visitor growth has been massive in 2014, with 298.7 percent year-on-year growth for the month of January.
Mauritius has several things going for it in China, however. The island has a significant population of Mauritians of Chinese descent, after their ancestors migrated to the island from China between the 17th and 19th centuries. The number of direct flights between Mauritius and China has been on the rise—there have been two direct flights a week from Shanghai since January 2013, and one a week from Beijing since last July.