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Resignation of Minister of Tourism causes domino effect

Mauritius tourism officials quit over political upheavals

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Aug 14, 2011

(eTN) - Two senior officials in the Mauritius Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, the Director General of the Tourism Authority and the Director of the Economic Intelligence Unit, resigned earlier in the week following the departure of the Mauritius Socialist Party from the coalition government and the resignation of the Minister of Tourism. Reports speak of the individuals showing loyalty to their former minister who appointed them and their lack of connection with the newly-appointed minister from a different party.

The resignations come at a bad time for Mauritius tourism, which has been struggling to keep up the pace of activities compared to fellow "vanilla island" Seychelles, which has been capturing the headlines and become a media darling over the past 2 ½ years. While Mauritius arrival numbers are overall substantially ahead of Seychelles, it is the market perception which has let Mauritius down, and with the media focus changing in recent years, promoting and marketing holidays in Mauritius had become ultimately more challenging.

The "vanilla islands" are known to cooperate in the international area to promote cruise tourism and generally holidays to the Indian Ocean islands, but Mauritius has also been lagging behind in aviation developments, as the government there is fiercely protective of national airline, Air Mauritius, as the expense of allowing more foreign airlines into the country, while the Seychelles has opted for a more balanced approach to allow in particular Gulf-based airlines greater access, resulting in record arrival numbers for the past two years.

Mauritius tourism officials quit over political upheavals
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