Contemporary travellers are seeking more than just beautiful beaches to unwind, or one more destination to tick off their "bucket list". They yearn for authentic experiences. Great news: Mauritius possesses all the qualities to fulfil this desire. Can it become a sustainable tourism destination? By joining forces, both as economic actors and citizens, our country can indeed take this direction.
Described by the World Tourism Organisation as "tourism that fully considers its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities", sustainable tourism is not a standalone concept. Rather, it is an approach inviting industry players to implement actions, however symbolic they may initially appear, to meet the needs of travellers while addressing the requirements of sustainable development.
Nowadays, a growing number of travellers worldwide are forgoing the comfort offered by the "all-inclusive" concept to truly explore a country, stay with locals or venture off the beaten track. Around the globe, initiatives and positive impactful transformations have emerged in favour of this new type of tourism – simpler, more authentic, and closer to nature. In other words, be more responsible.
Mauritius: A Land of Experiences
In Mauritius, stakeholders have also recognised the urgency to rethink tourism so that it aligns with sustainable development principles. Whether ambitious or humble, the established actions aim to ensure the longevity of this industry, which is economically crucial for our island. The elimination of single-use plastic, the implementation of wastewater recovery and treatment systems, reducing food waste...
In support of local communities, artists and craftspeople, hotels and tourist organisations encourage visitors to explore the country and meet its people. It's no longer about keeping tourists within hotel grounds at all costs, but offering genuinely authentic experiences - as evidenced by the colourful and warm international campaign "Feel our island energy" launched by the Mauritius Tourism Authority in March 2023. An invitation to discover the island in all its beauty beyond the beaches: a vibrant cultural destination, characterised by friendliness, a thousand shades, and sharing.
We are extraordinarily fortunate to live on a beautiful island with diverse riches. As Mauritians, we are all stakeholders in our country. We have a responsibility to ensure the longevity of the tourism industry by individually contributing to its development. We have a duty to honour and preserve the wealth of our country so that travellers can also discover and immerse themselves in the beautiful and authentic Mauritius: its historical heritage, cultural legacy, exceptional nature, beaches and lagoons, wildlife and flora, exquisite craftsmanship, cuisine of a thousand flavours, and its welcoming people...
How can we act?
- Let's be open and welcoming, as we know so well how to be: we are our country's first ambassadors!
- Let's give travellers the pleasure of enjoying a clean environment: respect nature, limit the use of natural resources, reduce our waste, and recycle as much as possible.
- Let's support our local artisans and producers: invite travellers to meet them, taste our culinary delights, purchase genuine "Made in Moris" souvenirs and take our Mauritian products back home.
- Let's also be tourists sometimes in our own country: discover different places, reconnect with our roots, our history and culture. We can only be true ambassadors to travellers if we ourselves know and cherish our island as we should.
Sustainable tourism is not a utopia: it's about creating as much value for travellers as for the country. Together, let's shape a truly sustainable territory for tourists... But most importantly, for us!