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similar scenario: “Last year, Mauritius

business decreased 8% for us, but is looking as if it’s on the upturn again this year and is currently our seventh most popular destination. That increased air uplift has helped to even out the hotel over-supply issue. “Although over peak seasons this can still be a challenge – the detrimental effect being that hotels sell themselves short in releasing special offers to try to attract that extra business, but they must be mindful of attracting the right client to the island,” Metharam says.

Hitting the road When it comes to attracting people to the island, June looks set to be a big month for Mauritius, with a number of initiatives on the cards from the tourist office. As well the publication of the 20-page guide

to low-season, family-friendly activities and accompanying UK-centric microsite, there will be a fam trip for tour operator reservation staff to showcase the fun and adventurous side to the island. A roadshow will also take place here for agents, with the MTPA, Air Mauritius and around 12 hoteliers visiting Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Crondon Park Country Cub in Essex, as well as a day at Ascot on June 20 for key partners with the director of the MTPA. One message Powell may be pushing more at

these events is that he would like to see more twin centres encouraged on the island. “We’re keen that people explore more than

just one location on their holiday,” he says. “But also this gives the operators and agents the chance to differentiate in what they offer – by highlighting a range of alternative product ideas, operators are not selling the same thing all the time with nowhere to go on price.” It’s a trend Travel 2 seems to be working on,

as product manager for Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles and Jordan, Michael Creighton says: “We have seen an increase in bookings to Mauritius and a move away from the traditional ‘fly and flop’ holiday. Boutique style properties with less rooms and a more intimate holiday experience are proving increasingly popular. For example, we like the Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel on the north coast, an adult-only property


that offers a peaceful, laid back experience for couples, honeymooners and small groups of friends who want private and intimate surroundings with great views.” He adds that hotels offering an authentic Mauritian experience are also seeing increasing demand: “Zilwa Attitude offers guests the chance to learn Creole dialect as well as the option of traditional gastronomy at meal times.” Hayes & Jarvis is looking to offer twin centres, and the likes of Sunset Faraway and If Only are able to mix and match boutique hotels. These little gems of the island could also be set to work closer together under one umbrella to promote themselves, Powell says. Some of the ones to watch include La Palmeraie, Tamarina, 20 Degres Sud, La Demeure Sainte Antoine and Lakaz Chamarel Exclusive Lodge in the Black River Gorges national park, likely to appeal to nature lovers combining a yoga retreat in the mountains with a beach stay, for example. Exclusive for Kuoni this year is Le Cardinal, which has just 13 suites on the beachfront in the north-west of the island. Kuoni’s Paton says: “It offers personalised

service, huge suites with beautiful luxury finish, small spa and a piano bar in the evening – it’s a real getaway.” Sunset Faraway’s commercial director

Shamira Kaumaya says she is witnessing an increase in demand for inner-island combinations with beach too. “In our new programme, as a result of such demand, we have introduced Mountains to Beaches – combining Lakaz Chamarel with 20 Degree Sud in Grande Baie and two days’ car hire for 50% off,” she says. “This way, you get to sample a bit of adventure and see more of Mauritian life, rather than being locked up in a resort for the entire stay. We also add a half-day city tour to Port Louis for all bookings for the north and north-east resorts, as we are all about seeing is believing.” Meanwhile, operators such as Sunset and

Kuoni are combining Mauritius with La Reunion, where Lux Resorts & Hotels has announced that it is to manage a new five-star property in St Philippe in the south.

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