Beyond beaches, Mauritius taps the outbound with adventure, experiences

In a clear indication that the Indian outbound had taken to a host of adventure and experiential activities, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Agency’s (MTPA) four-city roadshow had ample representation from companies undertaking such activities. The first stop of the four-city roadshow was Delhi, followed by roadshows in Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Mumbai. There were other stakeholders too – hotels and DMCs from Mauritius were in attendance as well. 
What was new was the pitch for experiences beyond beaches and a plethora of activities, such as sky-diving, sea-carting, submarine activity and flyboarding were showcased to trade partners. The idea being to project and cement Mauritius as a destination offering affordable luxury. Another area of growth for Mauritius has been its ability to court the ‘big fat Indian weddings’, we were told. 
Kevin Ramkaloan, Director, MTPA, while describing the tagline “Mauritius- It’s a pleasure!” said, “Mauritius offers amazing activities for adventure lovers like skydiving, zip lining, quad biking, sea-karting, helicopter tours and also a lifetime experience of walking with the lions. Rum and tea tasting tours are also gaining popularity among the tourists. Indians, while in Mauritius, will definitely enjoy long drives, shopping, nightlife and delicious cuisine or simply rejuvenate themselves at the world-class spas,” he said. 
Vivek Anand, Country Manager, MTPA suggested that the concoction of a homogenous environment, with people speaking Hindi and consuming Indian cuisines, and picturesque locales had played a significant role in driving footfalls. “Mauritius is an eight-hour flight from Delhi, so it is not close by but continues to remain a favourite among Indian travellers, seeking sun, sand, and adventure,” he said.
The MICE segment had most takers from Mumbai and nearby areas, probably because of a more robust air-connectivity, he said. He shared that the MICE segment (constituting of the wedding segment as well) was clocking 15-18 percent of the total passenger share from India. “The rest is FITs, honeymooners, families, and others,” he said. He informed that the figure for August 2018 was over 13 percent higher than that of the same month in 2017.  
When asked whether much of the traffic was yet being driven by a handful of key metro cities, he contested that it was more to do because of them being gateway cities. He added that secondary cities such as Ludhiana, Bhubaneshwar, Madurai, and Guwahati etc. were also equally pushing the numbers north.
Air-connectivity pangs were slowly being addressed, Vivek Anand shared, mentioning that during the peak season in 2017, daily flights from Mumbai to Mauritius was put in operation – which was a “very positive step.” “Air Mauritius is also planning to increase frequencies from Delhi. From four flights to seven flights a week to cater to the Indian traveller during the peak season,” he informed. 
Giving an overview of churning in the newer segments, new-age drivers, so to speak, he mentioned that golfing was also, albeit small but an important element, driving footfalls. “We have ten beautiful golf courses and small but a significant corporate movement is being seen,” he added.  
Commenting on the roadshow, he illustrated that the initiative was aimed at providing meaningful opportunities to the travel trade for mutual interaction to better understand the product offering of each of the participating company and “strike their deals.”  
While MTPA had roped in bloggers, vloggers and social media movers and shakers to muscle up the online outreach, there were no immediate plans on tying up with OTAs. Vivek Anand did, however, reveal that there were some plans on the cards to undertake promotional activities in the coming year, stopping short of sharing any more details on the same. 

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