Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, Minister of Tourism, Mauritius, said that while there was potential for tourism exchanges between India and Mauritius, inadequate connectivity between the two countries continues to pose a challenge.
Currently, Air Mauritius is the only carrier operating on the route connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore to Mauritius. The Minister said that they are keen to see Indian carriers come forward to connect Mauritius with India not only to develop more tourism between the two countries but to also break the monopoly of one airline to make the rates more competitive for travellers. He was speaking to media at a reception hosted by Mauritius Tourism in Delhi.
The Minister said that he will be meeting the representatives of Spicejet in Delhi to convince them about the potential that exists on the route. However, he said that one of the problems Indian carriers are facing is the lack of equipments to operate over the Indian ocean. “Their equipments at present do not allow them to fly all the way to Mauritius directly now. Only Spicejet has the equipment capable operating from the South,” he said.
Calling for more cooperation in tourism, Gyan said that while South-South co-operation is indeed there in trade and services sectors, unfortunately tourism doesn’t feature in it. “We want to inject tourism into it and make it an engine for prosperity and growth,” he added. The Minister said that while business and professional visits do happen and growing between the two countries, what is more important is more tourist visits from India to Mauritius.
The government reimburses 40% of the cost incurred by production units in Mauritius which has become a major draw by now. He cited the Hollywood movie, Serenity, which was completely shot in Mauritius.The Minister and his delegation will be meeting Bollywood producers in Mumbai to explain them the advantages of the new incentive scheme. He said that similar schemes are available for Wedding groups as well in Mauritius.
Talking about cruise tourism, Gayan said that Mauritius is keen to introduce a Cruise ship to connect all the Indian ocean islands and destinations including India. He said that attempt to identify an appropriate vessel is underway.
Mauritius is not looking for huge capacity cruise vessels, but vessels with a capacity of 500 to 1,000 people. “We know that cruise tourism is really big and want to develop it in a big way,” he added.
When asked about the agenda of his meeting with his Indian counterpart in Delhi, Gyan said that they would discuss matters of tourism co-operation, security issues in the Indian ocean, etc. He said that proposed Agalega Island development project with the support of India will open more avenues for tourism between the two countries. “We are also working together to get the sovereignty of Chagos Archipelago back. If that happens it will open up a whole new world for tourism in Indian Ocean. We have to think 15 – 20 years ahead,” he said.
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