The strategy of the tourism industry reviewed in the wake of COVID-19 challenges

GIS-16
June 2020:
The tourism industry’s strategy has to be reviewed
especially following the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The
psychology of the traveller has changed and, thus, holidaymakers will take into
consideration the sanitary and well-being aspects and ecotourism as determining
factors in their future choice for a safe travel destination. The Mauritius
product must be reviewed to make the country a more attractive destination and
to face increased competition.

 

The Minister of Tourism, Mr Georges
Pierre Lesjongard, was speaking during budgetary debates, yesterday, at the
National Assembly.  During the last two
decades, he recalled, golf, shopping, medical, ecotourism, cultural tourism and
sports tourism have been developed to make Mauritius more competitive. 

 

For him, it is important to give due
consideration to the greening of the tourism sector, the up-skilling of the
labour force and the promotion of inclusiveness.  The time has come to create a common vision
and enlist the collaboration of all stakeholders and the national budget has
made provision for key actions that would assist the industry to face and adapt
to the post-Covid consumer mindset, he emphasised.

 

The Minister recalled that this sector
contributes up to 8.2% of the GDP and employs presently 125,000 people.  The tourism industry has been badly hit by
the Covid-19 pandemic and since mid-March tourist arrivals have had to be
proscribed, he remarked.  Now, Mauritius
is tackling the final phase with regards to lifting the lockdown and the next
step will be to open the country’s border by respecting sanitary norms, he
added.

 

Speaking about revenues for the months of
January and February, the Minister indicated that these totalled up to Rs 12.5
billion. However, for the past three months, the deficit registered was around
Rs 15 billion, and the risk of job losses was huge and hence Government
intervened by proposing the sector with the necessary financial assistance, he
pointed out.

 

In addition, the Minister emphasised that the
authorities have already embarked on the preparation for the resumption of
activities of the tourism sector.  In
this regard the World Travel and Tourism Council has already endorsed the
sanitary guidelines prepared by the Ministry of Tourism, he highlighted.  All tourism operators will need to comply
with those guidelines before starting their operations and will have to carry
out a digital self-assessment via a specially designed mobile app and once this
is validated, the operator will be issued with a safe label.  This recognition will be a strong marketing
tool for the promotion of Mauritius.

 

To kick-start the recovery process of the
tourism industry, Budget 2020-2021 makes provision for the following:

 

·        
A protocol to be established to ensure all
sanitary precautions from arrival to departure.

 

·        
Support to national air carrier.

 

·        
The MTPA and EDB to develop a new tourism
branding strategy.

 

·        
Partnering commercially with the Liverpool
Football Club (LFC) for the promotion of the Mauritius destination, starting
this September 2020.

 

·        
Introducing the Aparthotels Scheme to enable
existing hotels to convert part of their accommodation units into serviced
apartments that can be sold individually.

 

·        
The Invest Hotel Scheme will allow owners to
occupy their units for a total period of 90 days instead of 45 days in a year.

 

·        
To attract High Net Worth tourists, special
arrangements will be made at the airport to accommodate visitors coming in
private jets.

 

·        
The MTPA will organise major events in
Mauritius where various tour operators, travel agents and international press
will be invited to experience our tourism industry.

 

To further help operators in the
tourism sector:

 

·        
The licensees of Tourism Authority and Beach
Authority will be exempted from payment of licence fee for a period of two
years.

 

·        
The rental payment of state lands for hotels
will be waived for the upcoming financial year.

 

·        
The Hotel Reconstruction and Renovation
Scheme rebate of 50 % on rental of state lands for hotels will be increased to
100% for two years up to 30 June 2022.

 

·        
Up to December 2021, companies operating
under the Deferred Duty and Tax Scheme as well as the Mauritius Duty Free
Paradise will be allowed to sell their goods on the local market, provided they
pay the taxes.


Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: [email protected]  Website: http://gis.govmu.org  Mobile App: Search Gov​
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