Threats to Tourism Industry in Mauritius
Info: 14461 words (58 pages) Dissertation
Published: 7th Oct 2021
Chapter 1: Introduction
Tourism was the third pillar of the Mauritian economy after the E.P.Z.(export processing zone) manufacturing sector and Agriculture. It has contributed significantly to economic growth and has been a key factor in the overall development of Mauritius since the years 1995 onwards. In the past two decades tourist arrivals increased at an average annual rate of 9 % with a corresponding increase of about 21% in tourism receipts. Tourist arrivals have been expanding consequently, thus rising from 103,000 in 1977 to 656,450 in 2000, a more than 600% increase. About 67% of the tourist arrivals are of European origin, with France supplying nearly half. The nearby Reunion French Territory is the most important short haul source market accounting for about 13% of total tourist arrivals. Asian residents provided 6% of tourist arrivals, almost half of which originated from the Indian Sub-Continent.
The World Travel and Tourism council (WTTC) stated that travel and tourism was estimated at 9.3 % in 2010 and is expected to rise up to 9.7% by 2020. This increase will help to create an additional 66 million jobs by 2020, in which 50 million jobs should be created in Asia and hence help to decrease world poverty. The longer-term prospects for Travel & Tourism remain positive, boosted by rising prosperity in Asia. The WTTC remains confident that the Travel and Tourism industry will remain a dynamic force for wealth and job creation all over the world.
The tourism industry does not cease to grow despite the problems that it has encountered in the past years, such as the credit crunch, terrorism, continuous increasing petrol prices and the famous avian flu (bird flu). The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) states that tourism recovered strongly in 2010 according to the Advance Release of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Tourist arrivals were up by almost 7% to 935 million, following the 4% decline in 2009 – the year hardest hit by the global economic crisis (http://www.unwto.org)
Tourism has become one of the most important pillar and the most revenue generating activity in many small island developing states. It has become the source of job creation and revenue for small island’s inhabitants. A change in the tourism demand for an island may have a major impact on the Gross Domestic Product (total value of goods and services produced in a country during a certain period of time, usually one year), the budget and the Balance of Payments.
Most small islands have adopted tourism due to a lack of development opportunities. The end of the twentieth century marked the beginning of the tourism as the main pillar of small islands’ economies (Bonte 2006), as it is the case for Mauritius. In large part, islands and cruises have become the most wanted vacation for tourists (Harrison, 2004). Tourism is a mean to reach economic development and economic growth, but is also a way to destroy its resources (Bonte, 2006). The Barcelona field study (2006) states that it is not just necessary to satisfy tourism demands, but also to cater for its durable development. Indeed, tourism does not have only positive impacts, but does have adverse effects on the environment and on the host community. The development of high volume tourism facilities without adequate consideration to impacts, has created many “tourism disasters” (Smith and Edington 1992). Aooay (2003) states that tourism is not only dreaming landscapes on postcards, the social reality is different: movement of population and disappearance of local savoir faire, begging, prostitution, ‘folkorisation’ of cultures and rituals.
Tourism has suffered from serious health crises including the foot and mouth disease in 2001in United Kingdom, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003 and the bird flu that started to expand in June 2002 (www.who.int.csr/sars/en). Tourism has also been impacted by several natural disasters including earthquakes, flooding, wild fires, hurricanes and the most devastating Tsunami in December 2004 which caused around 218000 deaths and to this day, other natural calamities, was one still having a significant impact upon the tourist movement and the tourism industry worldwide.
It is a fact, not only in words but also visually that the sugar cane industry is rapidly being replaced by tourism activities. However since Mauritius is entirely banking on the tourism industry for economic revenue, the question is; what could happen to Mauritius if the tourism sector saw a rapid decline or even an imminent death. One need to bear in mind that Mauritius is not the only country around the world offering this type of product and the fact that Mauritius is situated very far from the targeted market combined with an increase in air fare or/and tourism threats or even natural calamities, what can be done so that the future generation in relation to tourism development does not become black. This present dissertation tries to address the various issues that could cause the death of tourism if not remedied
1.1 Problem Statement
Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean. The island’s most important revenue in the 1980’s was sugar cane being exported to European Countries. Nowadays it relies mostly on the tourism sector and tourism is being considered as its main pillar. The tourism industry is in fact a very young one, having emerged only in the last decade in many countries of the world.
History has shown that tourism and its development have impacted in some ways, on everything and everyone that is has touched. Ideally, these impacts should be positive in terms of benefits to destinations and their residents but on the other side of the coin, this is not always the case. According to Leonard A. Jackson (2006), local people’s rebellion, environmental damages, cultural intimacy are good examples of negative impacts of tourism. Sugar cane fields are now being replaced by new projects such as the Integrated Resort scheme of Tamarina and Bagatelle at Pailles, catering for the tourism sector.
This present work is being done in order to analyse the threats to tourism, its weaknesses and eventually try to evaluate whether the tourism industry will face an end like the Sri Lanka whose Balance of Payment was in deficit after the tourism injections in the economy fell after the war started between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers)
The aim of this present study is to assess whether the tourism industry in Mauritius could face a possible end.
In line with the problem statement and the aim of this work, the following objectives were formulated:
- Identify the importance of the tourism sector in Mauritius and the latter’s dependency on it.
- To Identify the threats to the tourism industry and its impacts there on.
- To identify the threats that are relevant to Mauritius and its tourism industry.
- To assess whether Mauritius is at risk of those threats.
- To identify possible ways of mitigating those impacts.
1.4 Research structure
The study was classified into different chapters with the following purposes:
Chapter 1 - Introduction
To introduce the subject, to define the problem, aims and objectives of the research and outline the different chapters.
Chapter 2 - Literature Review
To give a brief account of previous research made in the field of threats to the tourism sector concentrating on small island developing states.
Chapter 3 - Saving the tourism industry
To analyse the strengths of small islands and the factors that may save the tourism industry.
Chapter 4 - Methodology
To outline the main steps taken to carry out this present research, providing details on the type of study used, its advantages and disadvantages, the questions set for interviewing targeted respondents and the limitations to the study.
Chapter 5 - Data analysis and findings
To analyse and discuss the results obtained from respondents
Chapter 6 - Conclusion and recommendations
To summarise the most important findings and to bring an end to the study and from the previous chapters to suggest any possible actions that could be considered in the near future.
Chapter 2 Literature Review
2.0 A global perspective of the tourism industry.
“Shorter working hours, greater individual prosperity, faster and less expensive travel, and the impact of advanced technology has all helped to make the leisure and tourism industry the fastest growing industry in the world” (Edgell, Sr., 1990).
Tourism has become a flourishing industry in the twentieth century, where destinations mostly rely on their natural and some manmade resources to make up their tourism industry. It is nowadays a principal element for economic development and growth. According to Lim (1997) and Crouch (1996), the economic impact of tourism has rendered the tourism industry to be considered as one of the most highly significant and integral parts of every national economy. Whilst the economic impact and the contribution of the tourism industry to a country is widely acknowledged, it is also an industry which creates thousands of jobs and a source of foreign exchange earnings. Let alone the positive benefits, it is also an industry that brings along many negative impacts on host communities.
2.1 Threats to the tourism industry
Recently, many countries have constantly been competing for tourism. “One possible first approach to the definition of competition is to consider competition a process of resources distribution” (Loch et al. 2001). In a market, the people, firms, organisations, industries will tend to use only the very little resources to stay alive in a co operation market, but will make utilisation of full resources when they are in an extreme competitive market. Competition is also highly dependent on the availability of resources and the number of individuals, firms and organisations who wish to exploit those resources, but as the basic economic problem states, wants are unlimited but resources are scarce, thus individual tend to exploit the resources more that they should. This will result in the population being suffering as stated by Bahn and Flenley(1992) “the rise of competition can lead to such a catastrophic imbalance that the final consequence might be the extinction of the population” and the tourism industry as a whole.
Competition should not only be seen as a way of boosting a market but if the competition is not well managed or even if policies with regards to competition are not clear, there may be a proliferation of tourism activities which could be to the detriment of the host community. For example the growth of hotels on the coast lines may prove to be beneficial to a country’s economy in the short term and long term if managed properly. However, if there are no proper guidelines on competition, it can become a nightmare for countries as host communities could feel alienated.
2.1.2 Increasing petrol prices
The first months of 2008 witnessed the considerable increase in oil prices where it reached a record price of $100 per barrel. Prices were predicted to increase to 140$ in June 2008 (BBC, 2008). This continuous increase in the year 2008 was due to the increase demand for travelling (according to the law of demand, as demand increases, price increases) because of globalisation and increase in travelling resulting from an increase in the number of people, firms and organisations wishing to exploit resources. Moreover, the increase in price of petrol has caused an increase in tickets for travelling. An increase in air fares have caused a fall in the tourist arrival. Thus one can say that the increasing petrol prices may be one of the threats to the tourism industry because it is linked with the increase in petrol prices and an increase in air fares.
2.1.3 Criminality rate, gambling and social factors
Ntuli(1998) described crime as “ a universal social phenomenon in that it threatens the safety and security of the people, property, their sense of well being, as well as social order”.
The case of Mrs. Harte being killed in her hotel room at the Legends Hotel, for a couple of dollars, when being on honey moon, is one which may be said to be unforgiveable. Mauritius is a famous worldwide known destination for weddings and honey moons. This crime is detrimental for its tourism industry. This news was broadcasted a few hours only after the crime had been committed, on several channels under the “Breaking News” titles and had it “Murdered honeymooner Michaela McAreavy (Harte) was strangled over a purse containing a small amount of cash.”(www.news.sky.com). This was broadcasted around the world and Mauritians were soon pointed out in lots of countries. The words of the husband inspire more sadness saying “She was my life”. The media was very quick at propagating the bad news and bad press and such publicity is not what a tourism destination wants. This act is in fact one of the greatest threat to the Mauritian’s tourism industry. Tourists who were forecasting to getting married in Mauritius have surely cancelled their reservations as soon information about this tragedy spread around the whole world and this is witnessed in Ntuli (2000) who found that nowadays, crimes committed against tourist is becoming more and more detrimental to the tourism industry of a destination.
As mentioned earlier, and supported by Giddens (1990) who stated that crimes committed to travellers has an impact on many categories of people, because a negative perception of tourists at a destination is often reported in the media or even tourist themselves to friends and families and this causes a negative word of mouth being spread as it is actually the case for the death of Mrs Harte. The host country will thus be badly marketed and tourist arrivals will decline as supported by Ntuli (2000).
On the other hand, in a few countries like Bahamas, the heads of states think that even if the criminality rate is a worry to many Bahamians, it is not a threat to tourism, according to an official at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau (www.jonesbahamas.com). Dr Hardt, from the US embassy stated that there is now more than 200 police officers are now available to prevent crimes on tourists and that the new priorities have been stretched out concerning those crimes. From the above, one can say that crimes may not be an imminent threat to the tourism industry, provided that there is enough security officers and aims and objectives set.
Gambling is often viewed as a booster for the economy of a country because usually the positive impacts of gabling outweighs the negative ones(Stokowski, 1996). Several studies such as Perdue, et al.(1995), Roehl(1994) suggest that gambling is profitable to a country because it generates a high profitability and contributes in job creation and a revenue for the government in terms of taxes.
On the other hand, Tosun(2002) found that gambling results in crimes and social disruption and usually creates very bad effects for the country as a whole. Studies showing the negative aspect of gambling are various, such as Caneday et al.(1991) and Stokowski(1996). Thus the negative results from gambling should not be forgotten. Prostitution and tourists attacks result from gambling. People find that tourists are a cash cow and attack them and stealing their belongings so as to have money to gamble because gambling is like a drug. Prostitution is also generated from gambling. It is such that where the tourism industry is developing, those countries do have a good proportion of its population with very low income and tourists are seen as stated above , cash cows. Hence prostitution is the result of poor economic development and an easy way of making money and tourists have the spending power to such activity but it is important to note that most tourists do not like gambling and seing people prostituting themselves give them a sense of unsafe surroundings and disgust. This has an adverse impact on word of mouth spreading. An example of the negative impacts of gambling is the state of Nevada in the United States where it depends much on gambling. The statistics for this state are astonishing. This state is the one which has the highest number of road accident, suicide and criminality rate (Vaknin, 2007).
Gambling is related to criminality rate according to Vaknin(2007). When one talks about gambling, one may understand crimes, addiction, drug and accidents. Those impacts should be carefully monitored even if gambling brings much economic development for a country (Perdue et al 1995).
Drug intake and thefts are also becoming “common” nowadays in Mauritius. Thousands of complaints are lodged at police stations concerning thefts and in this context, many tourists are attacked for their money or valuable belongings. Drug intake make more and more individual go on stealing to obtain their doses and such social factors should be tackled in order to prevent the end of tourism in Mauritius.
2.1.4 Political instability, civil wars, riots and demonstrations
“Political instability is a situation where a government has been toppled, or is controlled by factions following a coup, or where basic functional pre-requisites for social-order control and maintenance are unstable and periodically disrupted”. (Cook, 1990). Wilson(1996), on the other hand, defines a stable country as ‘if the regime is durable, violence and turmoil are limited, and the leaders stay in office for several years”. The link between political violence and instability in Hall et al.(1996) definition of political instability as ‘‘a situation in which conditions and mechanisms of governance and rule are challenged as to their political legitimacy by elements operating from outside of the normal operations of the political system. When challenge occurs from within a political system and the system is able to adapt and change to meet demands on it, it can be said to be stable” Challenging in order to govern a country or even those who do not follow the actual political system is often solved by violence; political violence. Thus political instability and political violence are two words that can be used as synonyms.
Lancaster(1971) states that tourists enjoy many different advantages that a destination offers, rather than sticking to only one advantage. Tourists can and will shift easily to another destination unless the attractions to that country are unique in the world. In other words, a tourist will go to a destination for its sea, sun and sand like it is the case for Mauritius and may shift destination if he wants unless there is only those 3s’ in Mauritius but it is not the case because Maldives, Seychelles offer nearly the same tourism product.
Richter and Waugh(1986) state that ‘tourism is frequently an early casualty of internecine warfare, revolution, or even prolonged labour disputes. Even if the tourist areas are secure (…) tourism may decline precipitously when political conditions appear unsettled. Tourists simply choose alternative destinations.’ Taking the above example, even if Mauritius offered the unique sea, sun and sand in the world, tourism in Mauritius will be hurt if there is political violence. This shows to what extent political instability may cause the end of the tourism industry in Mauritius such as the case of Egypt which recently through severe political violence resulting in its tourism industry falling drastically.
Richter and Waugh(1989) argued that tourism is for sure a political phenomenon: it will decrease sharply when political circumstance turns unstable. In 1994 Hall published his book Tourism and Political Science where he asserts that stable politics is a must for attracting international tourists, even the decisive factor for the successful development of tourism (Hall, 1994).
In case of political violence, tourism being a sensitive product and therefore tourists arrivals will continue to go down for a long period of time. Tourists will only come back to this particular country only when he has eradicated this idea of violence from his mind, but it might take many years. “Countries with a negative image due to past events of violence often attempt to improve their image with aggressive advertising campaigns trying to portray themselves as entirely safe destinations” (SÃ¶nmez et al.1999). Scott(1988) showed the massive work done by tourism authorities together with travel agents and tour operators to redress the country of Fiji where there was two military “coups” on tourism. Teye(1986) and Richter and Waugh (1986) state that the effects of political violence or instability on tourism is likely to have a spill over effects on surrounding countries but Hall and O’Sullivan(1996) found that both the Solomon Islands and North Queensland, found near Fuji, said that they were “safe” regional alternatives compared to the military “coup” in Fiji. (See appendix A)
Many articles have examined the impact of war on tourism. Most of them have shown that war has a negative impact in the short run (Radnic, 1999, Mihalic, 1996). In the long run, wars may have a positive impact in the sense that tourists are attracted to a destination to see the scenes of war (Weaver, 2000). To measure the impact of war, one may use the number of overnight stays, beds or tourists, but experts have not attempted to measure the economic impact resulting from a fall in tourism. Wars can increase the perception of a tourist in the risk that he undergoes while choosing a destination.
Hostilities, demonstrations and acts of violence, for example between the Palestinians and Israelis, have often discouraged tourists from visiting Israel for the past 40 years. Besides, Israel is located in the centre of the Middle East, tourists tend to avoid visiting this country during every period of crisis in the surroundings.
Riots are also one of those factors which can put an end to the tourism Industry. The case of Tunisia may be taken for example. While most Tunisians were celebrating the victory president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the country’s tourism industry witnessed a massive negative impact from the riots and tourists had to be evacuated of the country. “While President Ben Ali was a totalitarian leader, tourists from Europe and the Arab world kept streaming to the country at an ever-increasing rate. Only few of the arrivals even know that Tunisia was a dictatorship even if they came year after year” (www.getafespain.com). With the state of emergency declared in Tunisia, and with the unclear political situation after the fall of President Ben Ali, government of Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Norway have issued messages not to travel to Tunisia and this of course included tourist trips (Bernama-Afrolnews, 2011). This shows to what extent riots can have such an influence on the tourism industry.
In Mauritius, such riots were witnessed in 1999 with the death of the famous singer Kaya. The capital of Mauritius, Port Louis, was forced to close down for a few days and demonstrators had blocked major roads burned about 200 vehicles and attacked police stations. It degenerated to nearly become a racial dispute where young Creole men were fighting against Hindu people. Such an tragedy caused the economy of Mauritius to operate on a go slow basis. Such news were broadcasted internationally for much more than the duration of the riots. Businessmen became worried that their business might go bankrupt because that instability could hit foreign investors (guardian.co.uk)
2.1.5 Natural Disasters
A natural disaster is “a natural event with catastrophic consequences for living things in the vicinity.” (www.encyclopedian.com).
Natural forces will always be with us and tourism is a major sector of the world economy. The first mentioned is and will always be a challenge for the tourism industry. Therefore, these two elements will continue to play significant roles into the future. In the past these two elements have intersected and it is likely that they will again in the future. (Beattie, 1992).
A natural disaster can affect tourism in the sense that it destroys the natural environment and the things which the industry relies on. There exists a close link between tourism and natural disasters as if there is a natural disaster, the industry may be destroyed. Tourism is an important part of many countries’ economy and in less economically developed countries such as those affected by the tsunami, on boxing day of year 2004, whereby the affected countries relied on the tourism industry’s services for living.
Usually a natural calamity makes the rate of tourists arrival fall, which results in a lack of tourist spending. Businesses suffer due to lack of money generated by tourism, local small businesses close, larger businesses are in agony, leading to closure of parts of the business and jobs are lost.
There are cases where natural disasters can increase tourism arrivals. In a strange manner, places that have been affected by natural disaster can become tourist attractions. Those places often become places of educational and historical interest and many people visit those areas or countries.
An example of this is the village of Boscastle in United Kingdom. The village faced the worst ever flood in its history on 16th August 2004. A recorded 200.4mm of rain fell in just twenty four hours causing a 3m torrent to flow through the village (www.docstoc.com/docs; article factors affecting tourism; natural calamities). Over 100 residents were rescued by air. 116 cars were swept through the village in the harbour that particular day. It caused millions of pounds of damage to property and businesses. Following this, the small village was much on the media. After 2004, there were loads visitors which came from many places to visit the village, in such a way that accommodation became a problem because of massive number of people wanting to be accommodated.( Robyn et al.2010)
The case of typhoons in the Philippines had more negative impacts on the concerned country. The typhoons named “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” have ravaged dramatically parts of the Philippines last year and have had a negative impact on tourism, as compared to the small village in the United Kingdom.
Mauritius is a tropical island is frequently visited by cyclones but most of the times those create little destruction to Mauritius. some tourists perceive those cyclones as an experience, but others perceive them as a natural factor preventing them from enjoying their stay. This may lead in guests cancelling their trips to Mauritius during the cyclonic seasons (November to May)
2.1.6 Climate Change, Global Warming
“Climate change represents a new challenge for tourism. It is not, however, the case that tourism’s initial position will undergo a sudden, radical change. Instead, climate change has to be viewed as a catalyst that will reinforce and accelerate the pace of structural change in the tourist industry and more clearly highlight the risks and opportunities inherent in tourist developments”. (Elsasser,2002)
“Glaciers are melting, islands are drowning, wildlife is vanishing. Because of global warming, our most cherished vacation spots may soon cease to exist. And travellers are part of the problem” (Tidwell, 2001)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared that the ‘warming of the climate system is unequivocal’. The global average temperature has increased approximately by 0.76Â°C between 1850-1899 and 2001-2005. The IPCC further said that there was a more that 90% probability that the warming would increase in the coming years.
“Given the growing scientific data, my fear is we’re all going to wake up soon and find the places we love totally gone – even in our lifetime,” Mallet(2001). He further added that tourism and travel would mostly suffer with the rise of the sea level by 2100 because it has been predicted that the water level would rise by 3 feet by this time; eradicating resort hotels, beaches, ports and coastal property. The IPCC states that the American coastline welcomes around 180 million recreational visitors annually. The rise in sea level would be dramatic to those regions. Wall(2001) explains that “Clearly, global warming is an issue the tourism industry must – and I think will – pay more and more attention to in the near future”. Wall added that tourism is at risk and now all that the industry of tourism and travel can do is to prepare for and adapt to climate-related impacts which are already occurring. Taking the case of Mauritius, such rise in sea level will be drastic for resorts, because those hotels are situated on the coast lines of Mauritius at maximum 3 metres above sea level. A rise in sea level by 3 feet will cause many of those resorts to mostly disappear and this could cause the end of tourism in Mauritius.
Air travel and transport alone, for example, add more than 500 million tons of CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere each year, according to the IPCC. And as people travel more, courtesy of ever-rising Western affluence, the problem only gets worse. By 2050, a full 15 percent of the world’s CO2 could come from travel and tourism, according to Green Globe 21. Tha quthor John Berger even said that “We are loving the planet to death”.
Over the years passing , many island nations have fought hard to be heard in the international conferences about the effects of global warming on them. Some islands have already been lost in the Pacific, and the forecast is that many more will go in the coming decades, especially if nothing is done to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions globally. Now the case of the Caribbean islands should be closely studied.
The Caribbean islands, except Cuba and Haiti, are highly dependent on tourism, like Mauritius. Coastal development in the Caribbean for tourism is constantly increasing at a high rate despite a recent decline in tourism. In the Caribbean, tourism accounts for 15% of the gross domestic product, with higher rates in many of its islands, and over 2.4 million jobs (about 16% of the local population). It has also pushed populations towards the coasts because of the various developments. For example, in the Dominican Republic, over 50% of the population lives near coasts where a 3 feet rise in sea level would make them being submerged.
Recently, the Dominican government has received a report detailing that, under their estimates, sea-level will rise by 6 meters by 2050, eliminating the tourism industry and sending the country into complete chaos. The same would happen around the Caribbean. The fast development that the region is seeing may be completely devastated by global warming, and the same case goes for much of the rest of the developing world. The outcome would be to put billions of people in situations of poverty, hunger, and violence.
In terms of economic weaknesses, it was noted that small islands tend to have small economies, small land area and unfortunately do have a limitation of resources, meaning their economy relies on few primary exports like sugar and of course tourism.
Furthermore, the small islands have low resistance to “external shocks” such as natural disasters, political instability, terrorism, etc..(Harrison 2003, Hotiet al.2005). Briguglioer et al.(1996) identified environmental weaknesses which included the threat of sea level rise following global warming, and the location of small islands in relation to phenomena, such as cyclones, hurricanes and seismic activity which can lead to tsunamis and eradicate the tourism industry from a small island in a few minutes.
Chapter 3 Saving the Tourism Industry
3.0 Over reliance over the tourism industry
“Diversification in an economy is a sign of health” found Dr Amin in his study of tourism and economic development. However is one country is highly dependent upon only one industry, the country might put all the resources available for this industry. Many countries have adopted tourism as a way to develop. “Gambia, for example, has 30% of its workforce which are highly dependent on tourism. In Small Island developing states, percentages can range from 83% in the Maldives to 21% in the Seychelles and 34% in Jamaica” added Dr Amin from the economics department of University of Bangladesh. According to the WTO, overreliance on tourism might result in mass tourism, which is a risk for countries depending on tourism. Economic recession and the impacts of natural disasters can have a devastating effect on the local tourism sector. The country itself will be in trouble because of the lack of diversification.
“These views about economic and environmental fragility have been mirrored at major international meetings where the well-being of small island states is discussed, from the United Nations Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States in Barbados (1994), through to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002). Thus, at Africa, Caribbean and Paciﬁc Heads of States meeting in Gabon in 1997, a Paciﬁc Island delegate titled their paper ‘Vulnerability: A Paciﬁc Reality' ” (Tevi, 1997).”
(Taylor & Francis 2008 cited in Journal of sustainable tourism ;Vol. 16, No. 5)
On several different levels the Tanzanian licensing regime is contradictory to guiding principles for effective licensing. At the policy level, the government of Tanzania is should decrease barriers to entry for local people and international investors to participate in the tourism industry but actually the excessive regulatory and financial requirements for investors make it very difficult for local entrepreneurs and foreign investors to form part of the tourism sector. There are much restrictions such as tax burdens, restrictions and more and more policies. Thus government intervention on the tourism industry is not always a good thing, like the repatriation of profit for foreign investors have a limit(Licensing case studies, 2009). This may cause them to limit their investment and cause many hotels to close down due to a lack of funding and this could result in the tourism sector in Mauritius being at threat.
The small islands are at risk. The environment fragility is being constantly studied but till now, nothing has been done and can be done so as to prevent the small islands from any natural calamity. Tourism is and will be at risk for a very long period of time.
3.1 Media and Education as a way to address the end of tourism at a destination.
“Development in communication is one of the best ways to go in developing tourism” (Sanyal 2011)
According to the CNN task group, advertising for a destination is vital to the recovery of a destination. It puts on the welcome mat for travellers, and relights the spirit and the determination of the local people at the destination to be considered as proud and ready hosts. The case of Croatia is one that can be used as example to show that media has the power to make a destination recover. Croatia was a nation which was devastated by the war in the 1990's.. this country needed help to rebuild its infrastructure and the entire ecoinomy. After identifying tourism as a booster for its economy, the Croatian government needed help from the media for a destination marketing campaign. The government together with the media created the highly successful “ a journey into the heart of Croatia” campaign and introduced three vignettes; food, wine and arts and culture. The media continued to advertise this destination and till now it is one of the most leadings worldwide known leading examples of destination recovery and is one of the world's leading destinations competitive tourism's offering. (COMPASS- insights of tourism branding. 2009)
“There is limited understanding of the relationships between residents' perception of tourism impacts and community satisfaction” finds Stewart et al.(2001). For an economy depending on tourism to sustain itself, residents need to play an active and willing part in the industry. Residents to act as honourable hosts are vital for the tourism industry. therefore residents need to be present in the planning process and their attitudes towards tourism and perception of tourism's impact need to be constantly assessed (Allen et al. 1988, Kieselbach, 1988). Education of the host community is vital because there is a need to educate locals about the benefits of tourism to their economy and media needs to provide for TV shows to do so. Rogers(1995) found that awareness and knowledge of an innovation can be best disseminated by the mass media and thus media plays a crucial role for educating local people of tourism's benefits. Training of employees is one which needs to be considered because even though, nowadays technology have rendered the life of everyone better and the concept of hospitality has been revolutionized, it is simply impossible to deliver a good service without “well-trained and knowledgeable employees” in today's environment where technological advancements have revolutionized the concept of hospitality services, it is impossible to offer superior guest experiences to customers without well-trained and knowledgeable employees (MacVicar and Rodger, 1996). This stresses how important education is for the good running of the tourism industry.
3.2 Strengths of small islands
It is important to recognise that small islands have a certain strength. They have an ability for “forces to change” and can use this ability to progress. McVey's(2002) states that it is argued that island peoples have a strong sense of their importance and of the value of their economic and cultural resources. Thus, a good education and media has a vital role to play in order for small island to have “strengths”. Educating people is a way of having a good service, and making them aware of the economic importance of their esteemed island. The media has its role in advertising a destination or promoting it on a worldwide basis and taking the case of Croatia, the media made it regain its full sense of a destination for tourists.
Firstly small can indeed be beautiful (Schumacher, 1973) as small land size and relative isolation means that small island can offer a unique tourism product that is much in demand around the world: the sun-sand-sea (3s) (Baum, 1997). The media here need to intervene in order to provide appropriate advertising due to severe competition prevailing. The isolation may be adverse for many products but for tourism product, it is ideal and essential because tourist want to be away from their daily routine and stress. Isolation renders a destination unique and exotic. Gartazar and Marin(1999) state that the demand for holidays in small islands is growing, ‘islands are the second most important holiday destination after the category of historic cities'.
Secondly, an analysis of various developing countries and islands has revealed that small states ‘exhibit an enviable record of economic performance . . . ', and specifically, ‘small islands can leverage returns to scale in global markets' cited in Croes's study in 2006. McElroy(2006) noted that small islands tend to be far more money dependent than islands with larger size and population .which are larger in size and population. The strength of small islands is most of the time due to the tourism sector.
Thirdly, there is strong cultural, social and natural capital present within many small island states (Armstrong et al. 2006). Natural and cultural capital are advantages for tourism, providing the sightseeing and experiences that many tourists look for in terms of beaches, forests for hiking, waterfalls, culinary distinctiveness, cultural differences so that they can learn more about culture. Educating the local people about those natural capital is thus important to make them aware of the benefits of tourism.
The fourth strength of many small island states is the respect given to traditional development and resource management. Conell(2007) in his study of the small islands of the pacific states that the most inspiring developments in the Paciﬁc Islands region are ‘alternative indigenous responses'. To understand things better, let us take the example of Fiji, one traditional concept still applied is “vanua”, which is translated as ‘land', but which “embraces the physical and human environments as well as the spiritual world”, as seen in cultural norms and traditional beliefs about how people relate to nature.
Fifth strength of small island as stated by Baldacchino(2005) is their strong international ties. This can be seen both through the amounts of goods and services traded between small islands and other states. This also may be in the form of international aid, for example whereby china have lended to Mauritius money to develop its airport.
One can conclude by saying that tourism is the best way for a small state to develop but there is the need to consider important factors such as the threats that may face the tourism sector like competition, political instability and riots amongst others but if education and media play their role, both in the long and short run, in such a developing state, tourism can and will flourish for a very long period of time.
Chapter 4: Methodology
4.0 Chapter Overview
In his book “Business Research Projects”, Jankowicz (1995) defines methodology as “a systematic and orderly approach taken towards the collection of data so that information can be obtained from those data.” In very simple words, methodology is the way of conducting a research.
In research methodology, data is usually collected by the researcher. The data may be obtained through various methods, ranging from questionnaire to interviews such as face to face or telephone interview. In fact, using interviews, the researcher is able to obtain data from a large or small population. Only a sample size is chosen as it would be quite time consuming to consider the whole population and the researcher administers his chosen method(s) to them.
Various methods of conducting a survey for a certain population size may be used but there is no global way of conducting a survey due to the fact that the reason of carrying out a research and the respondents are most of the time different and is dependent on the context of research. For a survey, one may use a formal interview or a questionnaire or by observation.
For the purpose of this research, primary and secondary data are used and both qualitative and quantitative date may be used. However, for the purpose of analysis, only qualitative data was used and the following sections give an indication as to why
4.1 Primary data
Primary data are those data which are collected for the first time by taking a sample size, which stands for the population. It is collected by the researcher himself for the purpose of answering the problem. Primary data is not a published data. Such a type of data is done using interviews and questionnaire.
4.1.1 Advantages of Primary data
The advantage of primary data is that it may be collected using many different ways such as door to door surveys and interviews. It may also be collected on the internet by means of e-mails and pop up links. It can consider a large sample size and a vast geographical area. (Douglas, 1999)Moreover it is relatively cheap. Primary data is common nowadays and it can give a better idea of the actual situation to the researcher
4.1.2 Disadvantages of Primary data
The biggest disadvantage of primary data is that it has problems like how to create and formulate the surveys. Designing the questions may be annoying but need to be simple and easy to understand. Respondents may also give untrue, fake answers only to show off to seem trendy and fashionable. There is also a lack of control when using the primary data collection method. Questionnaires are often not filled up properly and some questions are often left blank. In open ended questions, people usually give answers which may be discussed.
4.2 Secondary data
This type of data can be seen as being the widest method used for collecting data. The process is to access information which has already been gathered from a researcher known as the originator. Secondary data includes the collection of information from third-party sources company records, websites, journals etc...
4.2.1 Advantages of secondary data
Secondary data is usually easy to access because of the vast sources of data made available. Long ago, it was difficult to access those data because one would need to visit a library but nowadays due to the advances in technology, secondary data is accessible to the whole population. This type of data is also cheap to acquire or most of the time free. Furthermore the use of secondary data may help the researcher in clarifying research questions and is often used before primary data in order to help the researcher to clarify the research focus.
4.2.2 Disadvantages of secondary data
The researchers of primary data are usually self-governed and thus the results of the research may be affected since the source of the data obtained may be highly questionable. In some cases, the data obtained or its form may not fit the researcher's research needs. Furthermore, in many cases, a researcher may not get the complete set of data to confirm the validity of the previous research and this is because many providers only offer part of the information freely and the rest may involve making a payment. Furthermore, one looking at secondary data may not consider the data that the study was made, thus making the data collected being outdated and since business and organisations are evolving rapidly, the results may be affected.
4.3 Qualitative research
According to Wikipedia (www.en.wikipedia.org) ,qualitative research is defined as “a method of inquiry employed in many different academic disciplines, traditionally in the social sciences, but also in market research and further contexts. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern such behaviour. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often needed, rather than large samples”. The interviewer is an integral part of the investigation (Jacob, 1988).
Qualitative research gives a more refined data whereby emotions, feelings and attitudes are reavealed. In simple words, qualitative research reveals us a better indepth picture if the actual life or situation. Wikipedia states that “Qualitative researchers typically rely on the following methods for gathering information: Participant observation, non-participant observation, field notes, reflexive journals, structured interview, semi-structured interview, unstructured interview, and analysis of documents and materials”
4.3.1 Advantages of Qualitative Research
Qualitative research provides details and depth in a research. it looks deeper than figures because feelings and behaviours are recorded in a qualitative research. it also creates openness because people are more often susceptible to develop new ideas and new topics which were not initiated since the beginning. Qualitative research may be used in cases where questionnaire will be very difficult to be created. (writing.colostate.edu)
4.3.2 Disadvantages of qualitative research
When conducting a qualitative research, there are less respondents taken into consideration because collecting qualitative data is more time consuming that quantitative data collection and therefore less time is available for analysis in case of a limited time research. The study group being a small one, there is the fact that the small group may not be representative of the population. Some subjects may be influenced because of some topics such as Politics, and thus results being affected. (writing.colostate.edu)
4.4 Research Design
It was determined that the information needed had to be related to the threat to the tourism sector. In order to establish the research design, previous research were investigated. In addition, in depth interviews from various persons were done.
The method chosen for collecting data was the face to face interview. Hill and
Alexander (2006) believed that this method is excellent as the interviewer can help the respondents where they face difficulties in answering the questions and can build a sort of “friendship” with them and thus increase the response rate. Face to face interview was also chosen because of the aim of this present study and it would be quite difficult to obtain the maximum data from a questionnaire. The respondents chosen are from different sectors of industries of Mauritius and all of them have travelled to many countries and are therefore experienced in the field.
4.5 Question Design and Data collection
The questions designed are meant to obtain the maximum data from the respondents. The greatest care was given to the formulation of questions. Those questions are considered as key questions and following them and the answers given by the respondents, secondary questions might be asked.
The key questions are as follows :
- How far do you consider tourism as being the most important pillar to the Mauritian economy?
- What are the factors, according to you, which can put an end to the tourism sector in Mauritius?
- What can be done in order to mitigate those threats?
- How do you see Mauritius in 20 years if it follows this actual trend?
4.6 Pilot Testing
The interview was done with two(2) respondents in an industry not directly related to tourism. The questions proved to be missing some basic things, amendments were brought, and the secondary questions came one after the other when the respondents were answering the questions. The pilot test was also an excellent means of practice for the interviewer who had to verbally translate the questions to French for the respondent to understand and to feel at ease and also because of the spoken language of the interviewee's language spoken upon arrival.
4.7 Limitations of the study
It is very difficult for a research to be perfect even if it is done by the best in the research field. This is due to the presence of many factors. The limitations to this present work are as follows:
- Time: it should be said that this present study had to be done in a very limited time period and this eventually reduced the number of research that could have been done in chapter. If more time was allocated, a greater number of respondents could have been interviewed.
- Sample size; the number of people interviewed might not be representative of the actual situation arising all over the tourism industry in Mauritius.
- Language; the questions set well in advance were in English and English was the chosen language for interviewing respondents but the respondents seemed to be at ease with French because the spoke French upon arrival, thus questions had to be translated. The same has been done for the responses.
- Secondary questions; the primary questions were a success to the respondents but secondary questions has to be formulated on the spot and upon the data collected from respondents. The secondary questions were most often different for each respondent.
- Respondent error; sometimes the respondent might be asked a question and latter starts to answer it and if ever he has misunderstood the question, it is only at the end of his answer that one might tell him again the question, but in other words, but one cannot stop and tell the respondent that he has misunderstood the question.
- Analysis problems; the data collected was very bulky. One interview last 30-45 minutes and the data had to be written before starting analysis.
- Respondents cooperation; some interviewees were contacted by either telephone or email, and in some cases they did not answer the mails and even their phones because they were not willing to be interviewed. One respondent refused to be recorded and the researcher had to note what the interviewee was saying. Another respondent did not even want to have his name mentioned in this present work.
Chapter 5: Data analysis and findings
5.0 Chapter overview
The purpose of this chapter is to gather and interpret the information collected from the interviews carried out. The objectives of the study drove the collection of data and its analysis. Those objectives were to know the importance of the tourism industry, to analyse the factors that may be a threat for this sector and finally what may be done to mitigate the impacts of those threats. Those objectives were met in the interviews done and the data was analysed.
5.1 Interpretation of results
5.1.1 1995-2000: Tourism putting a new life in the Mauritian economy
From the previous researches, it was found that the Mauritius' most important source of revenue in the 1980's was sugar cane exportation. But nowadays those plants are being continuously be replaced by tourism development. Thus the best way to promote development in Mauritius was to go for tourism because of its natural resources that are promiscuous to tourism development, that is seas, sans and sun. Tourism soon became the cash cow of Mauritius.
According to all the respondents, the tourism industry started in Mauritius in the years 1970. One said with precision that it all began in 1970 after independence and it started to grow and in the 1990's it reached its peak to become one of the most important pillar of the Mauritian economy. A respondent from Le Mauricien Ltee added that it became vital for our economy after the fall in the sugar cane price on the international market and that Mauritius stopped to benefit from preferential prices. Because of the guests spending, tourism is becoming more and more important. The years 1960-1970 were those whereby tourists arrivals were low but started to increase in the years 1970 onwards. With its opening in 1975, One&Only Le Saint Géran significantly contributed to the development of the Mauritian tourism industry by setting new standards for style, service and glamour in Mauritius.
Furthermore, “60,000 indirect jobs and 20,000 jobs have been created by the tourism sector nowadays and the cash flow for the tourism sector is about 20 milliard rupees”. From the above answers, one can thus state with assurance that the tourism sector started in the late 1960's and emerged as a main pillar to the Mauritius economy in the years 1995-2000.
The fact that Mauritius has adopted tourism development is because of a lack of development. To become a newly developed country, Mauritius followed the trend as a tourism destination. As Bonte (2006) states, many small islands adopted tourism due to a lack of development and Harrison (2004) confirms this by saying that most visitors choose islands as their destinations. Harrison thus found out that small economies will benefit from tourism because of the latter's choice in a destination.
5.1.2 The Mauritian tourism industry at threat
In chapter 2 and 3, literature review that there were many factors that could cause an end to the tourism sector in Mauritius; natural calamities are those which are beyond the control of any human, global warming, crime rate which is a sad issue in Mauritius, political instability happening for really stupid reasons, diseases which could make tourists change their mind about Mauritius if they consider the safe factor and social problems such as gambling and prostitution. Below is what have been found from interviewing experienced people in the field of tourism
According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in 2010,“Arrivals from Europe increased by 4.5% to 605,401 with a 9.6% rise in arrivals from France, our leading market”, it was found that the main guests for Mauritius were the European ones but due to the continuous increases in air fares, tourists may now think of spending less on air fares and visit countries nearer to them. Those increase are mainly caused by the increases in the petrol prices and the tax imposed.
One of the most cited opinions was the fierce international competition for tourists. Most respondents mentioned that competition could put an end to the tourism industry of Mauritius. “Mauritius is situated far away from the European market”. One needs to consider the distance factor when travelling to Mauritius and with the continuous increase in the air fare tickets, Mauritius is becoming more and more inaccessible. If one considers that tourists from Europe are nearer to countries like Portugal, Spain, Italia and Greece, they may prefer to travel to those countries and save on their spending in air tickets. As shown in chapter 2 section (competition), competition will arise due to the increase in price of petrol (BBC 2008). Mauritius will seem to be too expensive with the increase in air fare, thus tourists will prefer to visit countries nearer to their home country. There is also the fact that tourist need to pay for the Visa, thus French people for example will prefer to travel to Reunion Island because they do not require a permit to go to this destination.
18.104.22.168 Government intervention in the tourism industry
Government intervention in tourism may in fact cause severe adverse effect to this industry. Taking the example of a state owned airport, it has many disadvantages. Despite offering basic services at a relatively low price, there is the lack of service quality which is seeked by most tourists coming to a destination. They do not want to wait much at the airport and want to leave it as fast as possible to reach their place of lodging. Government intervention may also interfere in the sense that it may adopt an open sky policy for Mauritius, allowing more airline companies to come to Mauritius. This may result in mass tourism and if Mauritius is not prepared for this type of tourism, it will soon become saturated and with the problems encountered by mass tourism, the sites will not be sustained properly. Moreover, it was found that reliance on mass tourism could have a devastating impact on tourism as mention by the WTO, “mass tourism carries significant risks to tourism dependent economies. Economic recession and the impacts of natural disasters such as tropical storms and cyclones as well as changing tourism patterns can have a devastating effect on the local tourism sector”, mentioned in Dr. Amin, in the study of tourism and economic development.
The continuous increase in taxes may have an impact on the stakeholders of airline and accommodation industry. There is also a control on the revenue generated by those organisations by the government. It interferes too much in the repatriation of profit, even if everyone knows that Mauritius is affected due to less profit available for the welfare of Mauritians but it may be detrimental for Mauritius if none of the profits is left. The government should bear in mind that it should content itself from little instead of aiming high and receiving nothing in return. This has a negative impact on foreign investors who are discouraged from investing in Mauritius due to the fact that they will not be able to benefit from the profit generated in their home country. This should cause a problem to the Mauritian tourism industry.
22.214.171.124 Political instability, racial disputes, crimes and other social factors
Political instability was the argument which most respondents considered as the main threat to the Mauritian's tourism industry and cited it first when studying the threats to the tourism sector. According to respondents, tourists prefer to travel to a peaceful and stable destination and without stable politics, tourism arrivals will fall drastically as it was the case for India in July 2006 after the explosions in the local trains and China, after the four major attacks on the capital, Lhasa, in 1996. This phenomenon is further supported by Richter and Waugh(1989) who discovered that tourist arrivals decrease sharply when political circumstance turns unstable and as Hall(1994) stated, “stable politics is a must for attracting tourists.
The civil war is one which needs to be avoided at all costs. Everyone has witnessed the devastating impact that a civil war has on a country. “These political changes have a slowing effect on the economy of Libya”. The case of Egypt is another one whereby Egypt relies much on tourism because of its worldwide famous pyramids and tombs. The political instability has had an unbelievable negative impact on Egypt's tourism industry and they are now struggling to get back on their feet simply because tourist perceive this destination as not secure. They have to find ways and spend much to bring back their “lost” guests. (Sönmez et al.1999) idea of political instability matches what this respondent said because according to Sonchez et al. , countries spend massively and aggressively when trying to get back the trust of tourists.
“If this kind of political changes happen in Mauritius, we can say goodbye to our tourism industry. We are such a small country that when trust has been lost, if would be very difficult and would take much time to get back on our feet”. Moreover the respondent added that an adverse impact on our tourism industry would make other industries follow this falling trend. For example fishermen selling fish to hotels would not earn their living as before. This is shown in Richter and Waugh(1986) where they state that the effects of political violence or instability on tourism is likely to have a spill over effects on surrounding economies.
The Kaya history which occurred in 1999 (refer to appendix) is one which everyone remembers whereby demonstrations and riots were made causing the capital of Mauritius to close down for at least two days. Violent riots were registered and hundreds of vehicles were burned down. Soon this event was broadcasted on an international level and arrivals decreased automatically, whereby tourists asking themselves about the type of government governing this island. Such abuse of power by the police forces resulted in tourists questioning themselves about the security prevailing at such a destination.
The racial dispute in the years 1960 was a tragedy for Mauritius. being a multi racial island, such disputes may arise imminently, and if such happen nowadays, the arrivals of visitors would decline immediately and the tourism industry will be at threat once more.
Crimes are becoming more and more common in Mauritius. According to the respondent from Le Mauricien Ltee, crimes makes Mauritius be perceived as an unsure destination for tourists. This results in Mauritius as a “dream destination” losing its goodwill rapidly. This phenomenon is further supported by Giddens(1990) where the latter finds that crimes against tourists results on a negative word of mouth and thus losing its goodwill quickly.
There is an urgent need to find a solution to reduce those crimes. Reducing them is the only solution because ending them would be simply impossible. Those crimes will surely kill the tourism sector if it continues on this trend. This idea is also supported in Ntuli(2000) where he found that crimes against travellers “are becoming more and more detrimental to the tourism sector”.
The interviewees cited the recent crime in January 2011 at the Legends hotel in the north of
Mauritius. “We are perceived as criminals in Ireland” and in the United Kingdom and many countries, not to say worldwide., “ Why are Mauritians ill treated in Ireland recently? Simply because we have killed one member of their family”. The crime at the Legends hotel was on the “breaking news” of many famous channels such as BBC and Sky News. This information was broadcasted 24 hours for over a week on those channels. The headline for BBC news had it “The daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte has been found dead on her honeymoon in Mauritius” (www.bbc.co.uk) and the funeral of Mrs. Harte was broadcasted on Sky news over the world. Comments were like a brainstorming from the viewers and the potential guests for Mauritius. Factors like this crime can in fact be detrimental to the Mauritian tourism industry.
The above quotes indicate the seriousness of the Mauritians' deeds. The crime committed against Michaela Harte is described as one which is unforgiveable by most respondents. Mauritians need to feel themselves secure at first and then implement safety and crime freeness in Mauritius by for example providing more security guards on beaches. As it is the case in Bahamas whereby the US embassy stated that the criminality rate is not threatening their tourism industry because there is more policemen and a better planning of objectives (Hardt, 2007). It is only in this way that the Mauritian tourism industry will get back on its feet concerning criminality rate.
Gambling and prostitution is mainly caused by bookmakers and casinos. There is only a small number of tourists who come for gambling, the other part come for resting, shopping and discovering new sensations amongst others. Bookmakers and casinos are a major cause of criminality in Mauritius, “they affect the social side”. People gamble and lose money. Attacking tourists and stealing is the easiest solution to obtain money for gambling because it is “like a drug”. Tourists attacks and prostitution are one of the easiest source of revenue for people who are addicted to gambling.
Riots like for the death of the singer Kaya have been broadcasted worldwide and the channel BBC had it as headline “Riots forced the capital of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to close for a second successive day yesterday” (www.bbc.co.uk) . Main roads were blocked by demonstrators for a few days as well as devastating police stations, supermarkets and burning about 200 vehicles on that week. This kind of social factor had to be promptly dealt with in order to prevent it from becoming a racial dispute. This could have led to the tourists banning Mauritius from their mind because of this hate in religions shown by Mauritians, and causing the tourism sector to come to an end.
126.96.36.199 Natural Calamities
Only 1 respondent mentioned natural calamities as a threat to the Mauritian tourism industry. Despite the fact that this does not depend on us, it can “kill the tourism industry in 15 minutes”. Mauritius being a tropical island is mostly affected by cyclones and those cyclones always occur in summer and summer is the peak period for tourism in Mauritius. “If every year we have 2 cyclones during the peak season, tourists should stay at their hotel for a few days, this will cause a negative perception for Mauritius.”
The other respondents had to be asked a secondary question in order to mention Natural calamity as a threat. After answering question 2, the interviewer had to set the following question; “ And Mr....., what about natural calamities? Don't you think that it can cause an end to the tourism sector? Most of the respondents agreed that “we” are not responsible for natural calamities, it is god who decides about it. The tourism sector and natural calamities and diseases have always been enemies. this is shown by Beattie's(1992) whereby the latter states that tourism and natural calamities have intersected and caused many impacts, and this is likely to happen again in the future.
Natural calamities similar to other factors might have a short impact on tourism development or its industry but, if not looked into or countries doing nothing to address this issue, can become a long term negative impact and an imminent death of the tourism sector. It would take several years to recover and redevelop, including spending massively and aggressively to gain back the trust of tourists (Sonmez et al.1999).
“ We can in fact be subject to flooding caused by a Tsunami, but for sure we will be recovering quickly enough”. The respondent cited the example of Thailand and South India whose tourism industry were completely down after facing the tsunami on the 26th December 2004 and recovering afterwards in an astonishing manner. In fact, this confirms what Robyn and Nic(2010) found in their study of a small village in United Kingdom, whereby thousands of tourists came to visit the village, which was completely drowned, in such a way that there were no accommodation left in this village for more visitors. A respondent said that “we do not have any control over natural calamities” but agreed with the interviewer that natural calamities could eventually eradicate tourism, but did not mention about recovering. When asked about recovery, he said that it depends on how lucky we are.
188.8.131.52 Global warming/climatic change
Global warming was first of all the biggest threat facing mankind, and afterwards we can consider the tourism industry. In fact, he said the global warming will have many impacts and would result in the creation of a vicious circle. With the melting of ice bergs, the sea level is going to rise. This will cause the destruction of many hotels known as resorts. Malett(2001) found the same thing in his study whereby he found that by the year 2100, sea level would rise by 3 metres and this would eventually cause the destruction of coastal hotels and lodges. Thus the tourism industry will be at high risk. 2 respondents found that Mauritius becoming more and more a “plastic island”. People do not realise that their actions will cause their own end. “ We have created global warming will all our pollution, and now we should accept the irreversible consequences, the rise of sea level is only what we expect to have in a couple of years, but we do not know the other worst side of global warming, it is beyond our control, and as said above (refer to natural calamities) we cannot have a say in it, we just need to wait, see and pray”. There is an urgent need for hoteliers to find new techniques to counter the effects of the climatic changes, says an experienced respondent and this is witnessed in Wall (2001) explaining that “clearly, global warming is an issue the tourism industry must - and I think will - pay more and more attention to in the near future”. The extent of those words indicates that the Mauritian society as a whole will suffer, and worst the tourism industry will fall on its knees.
A respondent mentioned that diseases would have the same impact as political instability and civil wars. A feeling of danger would reduce the tourist arrivals in Mauritius and such example was the Chikungunya in Mauritius in a recent past. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Tourism in a report stating that “the number of tourists visiting the island was 58,136 in March against 67,931 in the same month of 2005”, caused by the Chikungunya outbreak (www.flutrackers.com). Tourist are generally afraid of diseases, and in case of an epidemic spreading of a disease, the tourism industry will be at risk.
5.1.3 Can Mauritians save Mauritius?
Communication is vital in any organisation. An interviewer was asked to refer to the interview of Dr. Karl Mootoosamy (found on www.travelmole.tv). The video mentioned that “there is a need to communicate and to promote Mauritius and its tourism industry everywhere. There has been an improvement in airline facilities and seating capacities”, cited by Dr. Karl Mootoosamy, director of tourism for Mauritius. “ Mauritius is a place where you can find happiness, and we need to keep on inventing the tourism sector”. The concerned organisations need to spend more and more to advertise our island on a global basis because of the increase in competitors since a few years. “We need to convince tourists to come to Mauritius” and this should be done through international advertising and continuous communication with the outside world. In fact, advertising helps to attract a destination as clearly shown in Thomas(2008) whereby the author found that advertising is a powerful tool used to persuade tourists, and has the power to change the mind of potential visitors. Moreover, Mendiratta(2009) further studied advertising and found that advertising for a destination is vital to “national profiling and perception change” and this helps in changing the mind for a change of a destination and is very important in attracting travellers and to create an equitable tourism industry. The power of the media is to be recognised here as for the example of Croatia which was a devastated country but which is now a worldwide known destination because of the media. (COMPASS-Insights into tourism Branding, 2009)
Advertising is thus vital for any destination.
184.108.40.206 A need for a more stable politics
Most of the respondents interviewed mention that there should be less and less people going on a strike or doing demonstration and appearance to show that there need things and the government need to provide. Riots like for the death of the singer Kaya should not happen because the make the tourists feel unsafe and thus will prefer not to come to Mauritius as mentioned in section 2 of this chapter, this has a negative impact on the tourism industry. This phenomenon is demonstrated in Greece and in an article in USA Travel Today by author Becatoros on the 16th June 2010, Greek workers have started to go on strike and have violent behaviours because the government has reduced their salaries and pensions. Three people died in a bank which was on fire. A study in this country showed that there was 20,000 cancellation in hotel bookings as a result of the strikes and riots. Tourism industry experts add that they are witnessing a decrease of about 10% in bookings compared to 2009, which was itself a year of crisis.
Education is the most important factor if we want to mitigate the threats and to have a flourishing tourism industry. To have a crime free country, education is vital. Comparing the Seychelles, where respondent S.A has been a few times, and Mauritius, there is a definite difference in the way that the host community perceives tourism. They have been inculcated the way they need to communicate with the visitors since their childhood compared to Mauritians whereby the latter rarely smile to tourists and say good morning for example. This interaction with tourists is vital for the tourism industry as witnessed in Allen et al.(1988) who say that host community attitudes towards tourists should always be assessed to make sure that locals and tourists should be partners “to ensure the success of the tourism sector”. Furthermore, Mauritians do not realise the importance of the tourism industry to their economy. Medias have to play a vital role in ensuring that they communicate the benefits of tourism to the local people on a daily basis and discussing on the importance of the media, Rogers(1995) mentioned that “awareness and knowledge of an innovation can be best disseminated by the mass media” In fact, an increase in TV shows whereby benefits derived from the tourism industry could help the local people to understand that tourists are important to them. This has recently been done through the “Tourism and Culture channel” on TNT Mauritius which is available for free.
Education and training is also important in the sense that it will help to have a better tourism industry.. Thus to have a “good tourism industry”, Mr D.M said that education and training is vital for our tourism industry and this is shown in the study of Mac Vicar and Rodger(1996) and Singh et al.(2007) where they state that in today's environment, technology plays a certain role which should be recognised by all hoteliers, but in hospitality service concept, it is impossible to give a good service without “well-trained and knowledgeable employees”. ‘
As stated in above in “a need for more stable politics” riots, demonstration will all cease if there is a good education since the very beginning of childhood.
5.1.4 Solutions quick! Or tourism will only be a souvenir
The respondents mentioned that the tourism industry in Mauritius is may be said to be “vulnerable” due to its crimes, lack of security and to the continuous increase in the number of competitors. The negative tourist perceptions like the recent case in January 2011 against Mrs. Hart is “unforgivable”. Mauritians are ill treated by tourists worldwide because we killed “a member of their family.”
Moreover tourist like Mauritius because of the green areas where they can be stress free for some time but with the construction of more and more hotels and development, there shall be an hesitation in the tourists' choice of destination. Mauritius will soon exceed the threshold of tolerance for tourists in terms of green areas and there is “an urgent need to stop construction”.
An experienced respondent said that in 20 years, the Mauritian industry will still be at threat. There is an urgent need to consider the planning processes and to plan for an efficient use of the resources. Education and training on the tourism sector should become a primary goal for the government due to the continuous rise in the importance of tourism to our economy.
Another respondent said that it will be the end of the tourism era in 30 years it we do not consider solutions to the various problems threatening our tourism industry but if problems are solved or at least minimized, it is only then that Mauritius will be able to imagine a future with tourism.
Chapter 6: Conclusion and recommendations
The main aim of this present dissertation was to know whether the tourism era could face a possible end in Mauritius. This aim was met and a summary of the findings will be shown below and also recommendations will be provided to the Mauritian society as a whole as well as for future researches in the field.
Specifically this study sought to answer the following question:
* Will tourism in Mauritius face an end in the near future
It was seen from the interviews carried out that there are several issues that could end tourism in this small island where 60,000 people are being employed either directly or indirectly by the tourism sector. Other factors are summarized below.
Political instability is one of the greatest threats facing tourism. Tourist prefer to travel to a peaceful and stable country and without stable politics, tourism arrival will automatically fall drastically. When trust and goodwill is lost, it is very hard to gain it back. Criminality rate is one which the government should monitor because crime is one which can kill tourism if it is not properly handled. Gambling and prostitution are also those to be controlled by the government.
Natural calamities are beyond the control of any human being and Mauritius being a tropical island is often visited by cyclones which force tourists to remain at the hotel for a few days. Recovering from a natural calamity is to be closely studied and without proper actions, this could cause the end to the tourism era in Mauritius. global warming and climatic changes are the greatest threats facing mankind. The rise in sea level will cause resorts to be completely covered. Moreover cold winters will become hot seasons because of those changes in climate. Cold countries' tourists arrivals will therefore decrease.
Education may be considered as the main factor which could make tourism flourish for a longer period. Considering crime, education can cause a decrease in criminality rate. Education inculcated good manners to the host community and the locals are those contributing for the success of tourism. Medias play an important role such as having TV shows showing the tourism benefits for the society as a whole. Training of employees to deliver a good service should not be neglected by hoteliers even if technology is continuously being on evolution.
Thus tourism in Mauritius is a sector at threat. There are so many factors affecting tourism as a whole. The government of Mauritius needs to find ways in order to keep the tourism industry alive and not to fall on its knees. If the factors are not addressed, Mauritius will unfortunately lose its economic asset in a maximum of 20-30 years but if they are properly considered and controlled, then only Mauritius will continue to benefit from the flourishing tourism industry.
The last part of the present study has been derived from the whole dissertation, and tends to provide recommendations for concerned authorities of Mauritius if they want to rely on tourism for a longer period of time.
A lack of awareness has been witnessed in this present study, thus the government should emphasise in providing TV shows relating to the benefits of tourism to Mauritius and what errors are citizens doing at present and the impacts of such crimes as witnessed in January 2011 at the legends hotel. Up to now, a new channel is available freely on the national channels of the MBC(Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation) and provision for more hours of availability should be considered.
Moreover, there should be more subsidies offered on training by the government at institutions such as BTA (Beachcomber Training Academy) and the FRCI innovative solutions incubator. The actual costs of training is high and as such, reducing the burden of tax may seem to be the best solution for enterprises to send their staff on training.
The security of tourists is a factor that need to be carefully followed and more police/ security officers should be made available of the coastal regions. 24 hours patrol on coastal regions to reduce crime need to be set up. Cameras of the beach is a good thing, and there need to be cameras on every beaches in Mauritius so as to discourage crimes.
The provision of a teacher in tourism in every school is a must to educate the children about the benefits of tourism and to make them have a very basic knowledge of tourism in order for them to have an idea of the tourism sector and to encourage further studies in this field.
A decrease in building permits is an action that needs to be considered by the government because nowadays less and less green spaces are available for tourists because they prefer to travel to a destination far away from their stressful lives of buildings and pollution.
6.1.2 Private sector
The private sector is the one providing accommodation for tourists in terms of hotels for example. As seen in previous literatures, there is a need to provide a more personalised and better service as requested by tourists. Thus training and education is vital at any stage of the life of a citizen of Mauritius. Even experienced employees should be trained due to continuous changes in technology and new standards. Exceeding expectation should be the primary goal of the hoteliers and this should be done by proper investment in training and promotion of their services on an international basis.
6.1.3 General public
Riots, strikes and demonstrations should be avoided at all costs because those impacts negatively on the tourism sector. The general public should be conscious of the impacts that riots like for the death of the famous singer Kaya had on the tourism sector of Mauritius. Demonstrations will make tourists perceive Mauritius as an unstable country where the citizens are unhappy with their living standards and will perceive the destination as unsure because demonstrations usually turn to riots.
The present recommendations tend to say that the country in general, private and public sector and the general public need to cooperate in order to have a flourishing tourism industry. Those three are vital for the tourism like the three feet of a tripod, without one of them, the tripod does not stand anymore. The same applies the tourism industry in Mauritius.
Tourists are highly recommended to respect the culture of the host community and not to proliferate their own culture in Mauritius. The respect of historical sites and following rules and regulations at a site is a must. Cooperation of tourists is vital for the well being of the Mauritian tourism industry.
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