from HANSLEY NABAB in Port Louis, Mauritius
PORT LOUIS – DAYS after suspending flights from fellow Southern African nations following the emergence of the new coronavirus variant, Mauritius has bemoaned almost similar restrictions against it by France.
The French government has placed Mauritius on its new “scarlet” list on a temporary basis, along with nine other countries in Southern Africa.
The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) and Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs of Mauritius (AHRIM) expressed concern.
“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,” Nilen Vencadasmy, Chairman of the MTPA, and Jean-Michel Pitot, Chairman of AHRIM, stated.
“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.”
AHRIM and MTPA said despite the French government’s announcement, Mauritius remained an open destination and would continue welcoming visitors who wish to discover or rediscover the island nation.
This would be 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,” Pitot and Vencadasmy jointly stated.
The officials assured Mauritius was protected against the import of COVID-19.
Over 89 percent of the adult population is already vaccinated.
Tourism employees were prioritised for vaccination.
The country of 1,27 million people recently intensified the inclusion of youngsters 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 AHRIM and MTPA executives said the Mauritian tourism industry remained united in the face of the new challenge posed by the French.
“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.”
Mauritius recently suspended commercial flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe until December 31.
– CAJ News