(Port Louis, 2 December 2021) Mauritius’ tourism industry acknowledges the French government's decision to place Mauritius on their new "scarlet" list on a temporary basis, along with nine other countries in Southern Africa.
This decision comes at a very unfortunate time for the Mauritian tourism sector, two months after the opening of our borders to vaccinated foreign visitors. France being one of our main markets, we are currently measuring the impact this decision will have at a time when bookings for the end of the year were most promising.
Despite the French government's announcement, Mauritius remains an open destination and we will continue to welcome visitors who wish to discover or rediscover our island, in compliance with the health protocols currently in place. Tourism operators will continue to make every effort to ensure the safety of their employees and visitors.
Local authorities are in contact with the relevant French authorities. In addition, representatives of the joint public/private tourism committee have already requested an official meeting with the French Ambassador, Her Excellency Florence Caussé-Tissier. Official meetings with other diplomatic representatives will follow.
As a reminder, the priority of the Government of Mauritius has always been to protect the health of Mauritians, residents and visitors to the island. In response to the discovery of the Omicron variant Mauritius has suspended air connections with a number of countries.
Mauritius is very well protected against the import of Covid-19. Our public health protocols are widely regarded as best-practice, and we have an extremely high vaccination rate, with over 89 per cent of the adult population already vaccinated. Tourism employees were prioritised for vaccination, which means that visitors are welcomed and serviced exclusively by vaccinated staff.
The tourism industry continues to support the national vaccination programme, which has recently been intensified with the inclusion of young people under the age of 18, as well as the introduction of the third dose booster programme, which has already benefited over 100,000 Mauritians.
The Mauritian tourism family remains united in the face of this new challenge. We call on the French government to review this decision as soon as possible to minimise the impact on an industry on which more than 150,000 people depend, and which is only just getting back on its feet.
Nilen Vencadasmy, Chairman of the MTPA
Jean-Michel Pitot, Chairman of AHRIM