Island paradise opens up to East Africa with daily direct flights from Nairobi

Mauritius is firmly established as a favoured destination for South African travellers, and now the Indian Ocean island is attracting visitors from Kenya and East Africa with daily direct flights from Nairobi

Intra-African tourism is increasingly attractive for Africa’s emerging middle class and increasingly important for African economies. The type of connectivity created by Kenya Airways flight schedule between Nairobi and Mauritius is a game-changer for the tourism industry. Africa currently only earns 3 per cent of global tourism revenues. Improved connectivity between premium African tourism destinations is a significant step towards growing that figure.

While the European market remains crucial for the Mauritian tourism industry, intra-African tourism is projected to boom across the continent in the coming decades.

Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority CEO Arvind Bundhun sees the African continent as the future growth market for Mauritius and has ambitious plans to attract more of Africa’s tourists to sample the unique island culture and beauty of his island. “It is true that sun, sea and sand have always represented Mauritius’ core tourism product, but lately the island nation has been making inroads into areas such as wellness, shopping, sports and medical tourism. Today, visitors can enjoy a host of cultural and sporting attractions, with the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean never more than a short distance away,” said Arvind Bundhun.

“At the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, we have witnessed countless travellers become enchanted by our tiny island, discovering the cultural melting pot that spills into the local food, music and architecture. Tourists are also reassured by the fact that Mauritius is one of the safest countries in the East African region, allowing them to explore its every corner without apprehension. “Mauritius is a year-round destination for golfing holidays, with 10 international-standard 18-hole courses and three nine-hole courses offering breathtaking views. Our high-profile golf courses are host to several international competitions each year. The purity of the air, the expertise of the organisers and unrivalled hospitality on offer give Mauritius the edge that every golfer is searching for,” he said.

“Golfers are spoilt for choice, as both the east and west coasts of the country offer a range of scenic coastal golf courses. The island registered a nine per cent increase in the rounds of golf played during the 2018 calendar year, with an estimated growth in arrivals of 4,000 people. This brought the total number of players and other parties involved in golf to 54,000 annually.

“Additionally, 13 per cent growth was witnessed during the low season in Mauritius last year. This is most encouraging, as it shows that golf can help supplement arrivals during periods of reduced tourism activity. Mauritius is on a mission to show prospective visitors that it is a premier golfing destination all year round, a task it is succeeding in thus far. There are, of course, other reasons to visit the island as well: Mauritius is an island of culture, shopping, dining and entertainment. Big-game fishing is one of the most popular activities, but catamaran cruises, dolphin swimming excursions, sightseeing tours, extreme adventures, luxury activities and spa packages are also available,” he said.