Holidays abroad, stays in hotels, activities at sea or in leisure centres. Despite the high cost of living, linked to inflation, what is the enthusiasm among Mauritians for this festive period? How do they plan to spend their holidays? The point in this file.
Strongly impacted by the closing of borders in 2020, hotels, tourist operators and travel agencies are filling up for the end of the year holidays. This, after two years of pandemic linked to the Covid-19. For the period from January to November 2022, no less than 87,000 tourists set foot on Mauritian soil. Moreover, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) strongly hopes that the bar of one million tourists will be crossed by the end of December 2022.
If tourists can afford to spend a dream vacation because of their strong purchasing power, however this is not the case for Mauritians who are currently suffering the consequences of inflation in the country. To spend holidays at low prices, many Mauritians have been looking for “bargains” for months on online booking sites: Mari Deal, Deal.mu, Défi Deal, Booking.com, in short, the list is long. To the latter, there are also airline sites to find the cheapest plane tickets. To take advantage of promotional rates and to better organize their holidays at the end of the year, they had to plan months in advance. The less clever are now faced with more expensive rates in this high season that the tourist sector is currently experiencing. Ditto for good plans for outings or family activities, such as catamaran rides and other activities in leisure parks.
Rodrigues, the preferred destination
In terms of travel, it would seem that Rodrigues is the most preferred destination by Mauritians for the holidays of this end of the year. At around Rs 7100 for the plane ticket, who will not take advantage of this bargain?
Moreover, for the travel agency, Atom Travel, this destination is already ‘sold-out’. “Indeed, there has been a real enthusiasm among Mauritians for Rodrigues. But, also for destinations, such as Turkey and Kuala Lumpur”, indicates Caroline Chen, the director of Atom Travel. As for the most expensive destinations, she maintains that the enthusiasm is for South Asian countries and India among others. This, since reservations were opened in July 2022.
After two years of pandemic and the closing of borders in 2020, how is the sale of destinations expected at the end of the year? Caroline Chen points out that “most of the destinations we offer on our website are sold-out. We are, in fact, very satisfied with the sale of plane tickets”.
End of the year: windfall to maximize sales
At the moment, Flash Offers with 10-15-20-25-30% discounts abound on online booking sites. And this, whether for stays in hotels, lodges or meals in restaurants as well as for activities at sea or on land. However, you have to be patient to be able to make a booking. Because most “Good Deals” find takers in a fraction of a second. Compared to hotels, one of them, located in the west of the country, only welcomes tourists. Therefore, the prices are adapted to the demand and the target market. This means that only Mauritians who can afford to shell out around Rs 35,000 or more can stay here on a New Year’s Eve holiday for a night or two.
We learn that, compared to 2019, the rates according to room categories have increased by 13%. Then, head for a hotel in the South where the price for one night is around Rs 12,000 depending on the room category. Currently, 1% of reservations have been made by Mauritians wishing to stay there for the festive period. While the rest are tourists. “There is a craze among Mauritians to spend two or three nights there, but no more,” we are told. While another very popular hotel in the West is already full. Therefore, no places available for Mauritian customers during this festive period. Why this price increase in some hotels? “The end of the year is an opportunity to maximize sales and also, with everything becoming expensive at the moment, we have to continue the maintenance of the hotel and its services”, confides the sales manager.
Catamaran outings… the leisure that is on the rise
In terms of activities, catamaran trips are the most popular at the moment with Mauritians, says a tourist operator. He cites as an example the visit to Benitiers Island which also allows you to swim with dolphins which costs around Rs 3500, including a BBQ and drinks. “Visits to Ile aux Cerfs and excursions to leisure parks across the island are also very popular at the moment, whether for end-of-year celebrations or outings with family or friends. To meet demand, we have adapted our rates to Mauritians so that they can make the most of public holidays at the end of the year at a reasonable price,” he concludes.
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Despite the high cost of living – festive period: what trend for the holidays?