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The legal framework governing the tourism sector needs a good overhaul. At least that is the view of the ministry, which is working on a Tourism Development Bill to “reorganise the tourism sector with the aim of adapting to new trends, establishing a sound institutional and legal framework for sustainable tourism development and setting standards in line with international norms”.

This Tourism Development Bill should therefore provide a legal framework that is favourable to the development of the sector. At the same time, the framework for issuing licences for tourism-related activities will also be simplified and the inspection division of the Tourism Authority will be strengthened. A share will be reserved for sustainable development. Standards should be established to respect hoteliers and other operators in order to take into consideration the environmental aspect in their future developments.

It should be noted that 19 new hotel projects have been identified by the Economic Development Board with investments of Rs 21 billion planned for the financial year 2024/25. The government wants to capitalize on the growth of the tourism sector which is in great shape in this post-COVID-19 period. This goes hand in hand with even more hotels that will be added to the hundred already existing and even more complexes that can accommodate tourists. Other airlines will also be added gradually to those already serving the country.

Tourism revenues have increased from Rs 63 billion in 2019 to Rs 86 billion today – an increase of 45%. During his speech during the budget debates on 18 June, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, who is also Minister of Housing and Regional Planning, had to state: “Even taking into account the depreciation of the rupee, the inflationary effect that the opposition keeps talking about – in real terms, the income from tourism and the total income from tourism have increased. Obviously, Mauritius is neither the Maldives nor the Seychelles; everything separates us from these countries, both in terms of economic structure, natural features, development policy. Let us compare like with like.”

And he added: “Today what is true is that tourism has rebounded and the figures for tourist arrivals for January to May show us that we have already exceeded the level of 2019. Today, in terms of tourist arrivals, since the beginning of the year, we are doing better. We have recovered and we are moving forward in terms of tourist arrivals. But the challenges remain significant, the challenges of connectivity, the number of airlines serving our country, the ports of embarkation, the available seats – obviously these are challenges that we are facing.”

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