Tourism remains incredibly important for island destinations – and that trend shows no signs of slowing down or reversing. The tourism industry provides business opportunities and contributes to economic development on islands.
Tourists of the 21st century are more demanding and have different needs. Tourists are always in search of unique opportunities.
Mauritius has adapted to tourists’ more sophisticated demands by diversifying its offering to them. The island has developed a variety of entertainment opportunities aside from the traditional beach tourism. In this way, tourist numbers have risen compared to previous years. For example, Statistics Mauritius shows that more that 1 million tourists visited Mauritius in 2015 compared with 934,827 in the year 2010.
This doesn’t mean that entertainment was the only reason for the rise in tourism. Between 2005 and 2010 tourism climbed from 761,000 to 935,000. That can be attributed to a number of things such as technological development, government support, pro-tourism policies and opening up air access to other airlines.
Tourism and entertainment
Mauritius has, for example, offers activities like scuba diving, parasailing, water-skiing, deep sea fishing and catamaran sailing. These activities attract more tourists as well as retaining them for longer.
Integrating entertainment also helps to preserve natural and cultural resources.
A country’s tourism and entertainment industries are mutually dependent on each other. Tourism is about relaxation, escapism and enjoyment. All of these are also key to entertainment. For example, traditional sega dances on a catamaran trip in Mauritius combine the two.
Tourist Entertainment in Mauritius
Mauritius has capitalised on its sea, sun and sand to market its offering. Most tourists are drawn by the water and beach activities. But Mauritius has developed a diverse set of attractions over the decades. These include:
- Cultural celebrations and festivals
- Sports and competitions ranging from tennis competitions to beauty contests
- Conferences, shows and exhibitions like concerts and musical shows
- Water-based activities like deep sea fishing, catamaran, parasailing and scuba diving
- Nature-based activities like trekking, paragliding and nature trail hikes
- Heritage attractions like Porlwi by light
- Wellness and spa services like aqua yoga, wellness and fitness programmes
- Shopping, gambling and night life and,
- Technology-based entertainment like 3-D, 4-D shows and films, drone aerial activities and interactive games
These activities draw tourists from a more diverse set of destinations including Russia, China, Scandinavia and Turkey. Previously tourists visiting the island came mainly from Europe and India.
Lessons from Mauritius
- To succeed, Africa must adapt to changing tastes and needs. Acquire a deeper understanding of the need of their current and potential visitors, the type of experiences they’re looking for and the type of activities they want.
- Explore the potential of entertainment and its integration into existing tourism activities. But this needs to be done wisely so that natural and cultural resources are not affected and commercialised. Tourists are always interested in experiencing authenticity.
- Adopt and implement a sustainable approach and planning of their natural and cultural resources. And let’s not forget the interests and aspirations of local communities.
African destinations have so much to offer the world and starting with these three lessons from Mauritius is a great place to start drawing more tourists.