December has become the exciting period for the travel industry. With the passing of time, travel trends have incurred major changes, which have shaped the way Mauritians opt for vacation. Gone are the days of a simple vacation in a single country. Now, the trend is group packages and visiting two or more countries in a single vacation.
From year to year, the number of Mauritians travelling during the month of December is on an ascending curve. Many of our locals prefer to spend the end of year in different countries, seeking the best experiences. One of the main reasons of this predilection is affordability and accessibility. After spending a hectic whole year working assiduously hard, many Mauritians can afford to buy for themselves a small holiday. Many Mauritians travel by plane, either alone, with family or friends.
According to statistics, in 2018, the number of departures amounted to 296,074 people. From 2017 to 2018, there has been an increase of 4.7%. In December only, 31,822 people travelled compared to 30,375 in 2017. Moreover, from January to September 2019, the departures of Mauritian residents increased by 7.3% from 214,285 to 229,855. Interestingly, in 2018, people in the age group of 35-39 (16,213) are the ones to have travelled the most, followed by the age group of 50-54 (14,387) and the age group of 30-34 (14,207).
Furthermore, the Top 6 countries for Mauritian departures include United Arab Emirates, Reunion Island, France, South Africa, India and the United Kingdom.
Evolution of the travel industry
Bruno Lacharmante, Group Communication and Events Manager of Défi Media Group, explains that the travel industry has been through some interesting alterations over the past years. “With the Salon du Prêt-à-Partir, we have seen a radical increase of travel as leisure. There has been an increase of bookings. During the fair, as there were 60% on certain destinations, many people took the opportunity to book their end-of-year trip.”
Ajmal Tincowree, from Shamal Travels, highlights that they have also observed an increase in the number of travelers. “People seeking leisure and time away from their daily routine has become a trend. People now value experiences more than materialistic needs. 2019 has been a very active year within the travel industry.”
He further reveals that the end of year is now synonymous with travel. “The surge in booking starts as from October and carries on until December. This year, we have seen a significant surge at Shamal Travels. Airline promotions have also covered a travel period up to November 2020. In other words, a lot of people have started booking very early for their trips in 2020 as well. December is synonymous with school holidays, festive seasons, lots of events happening within the destinations and the overall joyous mood that prevails making it the ideal time to travel with friends and families.”
Benjamine Li, managing director of Holiday Planners Travel Agency Ltd, states that she has seen that this year, more Mauritians are travelling on holidays abroad, and most flights are already full for this December. “This is the only time of the year that parents can enjoy their holidays with their children.”
Besides, a spokesperson for Appadoo Travel Tours avers that today, Mauritians are eager to discover new horizons and those ineffable moments beholding the beauty of the world. “The adrenaline of fresh mountain air, the peace of calm beaches, the experiment of river cruise, the taste of new cuisine and the feel of a new life” are some of the new experiences attracting our locals.
One of the main changes, today, in travelling is travel packages, which have rendered it easier to have more than two countries listed on one trip. Ajmal Tincowree points out that packages offer an easy way to travel. “The hassle of finding the right hotel, a taxi, a guide to take you around for tours, airport pickups, secured environment when travelling with your family always represent a couple of challenges. Packages are then naturally the best course of action to free up your precious time and your mind when you travel abroad. A package is, in our opinion, the best way to travel. Otherwise, you always end up spending time and energy sorting out your day and issues all through your holiday, which becomes frustrating and more expensive in the end. Costs are controlled, so budgeting becomes easy.”
As he sees it, convenience is key, especially when travelling with children. “You know you have a driver waiting with a car always. Otherwise you continuously have to troubleshoot situations as and when they arise. There is no risk of being cheated, as you already pre-booked and paid with Shamal Travels before departure and you do not have to deal with any intermediaries or hawkers once on site. There are people to pick you up, to drop you at the airport, so no chance of missing your flights and no stress in case there is an emergency, as we always have a team member on-site ready to assist.”
Another advantage highlighted by him is that the agents can be reached through their partners and service providers in the destination or through any communication channel. “If you book directly with airlines or online, you always end up dealing with big call centres and often not get a solution to your problem. Our goal is to ensure that we make the link for you with the hotels and airlines and we troubleshoot while you enjoy your holidays.” Moreover, this type of travel is more adapted for families with kids. “It relieves parents of the hassles and guarantees a good experience for the entire family. You just need to follow the schedule and not to worry about anything.”
Benjamine Li also shares the same view. She avers that more and more Mauritians are choosing tailor-made packages, as they know everything is judiciously organised for them. “It is hassle-free. Being on holidays, families do not want to be stressed. Along with packages, there are also cruises where you have everything included, such as a Floating Hotel, and children can go around without any problem.”
A spokesperson from Appadoo Travel Tours opines that people prefer packages, as it includes a plethora of personalized services such as air tickets, transfers, inbound flights, hotel accommodation, local tourist guide, taxi/car and coach. “No need for the clients to stress themselves for individual bookings, which cost a lot more money. Appadoo Travel is more than just travel in form of luxury and style. Our package is specially oriented towards family travelling during school holidays to open up a thrilling experience to both parents and kids. While exploring new horizons, our package is set to make your own shopping hands tickle with enormous varieties of products at low prices.”
Afsar Coowar of City Travel and Tours states that as tickets are on sales and there are interesting packages, Mauritians are seizing this opportunity to travel. “One trend is a stopover at Dubai for three to four days and then heading to other countries. It is at the advantage of the locals to visit two or three countries. The tickets are cheaper and they get very good deals. Sometimes, the tariff of one country is more expensive than that of two or three countries.”
Southeast Asian countries
Southeast Asian countries have been attracting many Mauritians during these past years. Countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Bangkok and Bali are extremely popular destinations. Bruno Lacharmante states that seeing the attractions and affordability in these countries, Mauritius are more apt to visit them. “The purchasing power of our locals push them towards these countries where they are able to enjoy and do their shopping.”
Another reason why Mauritians are inclined towards these countries is because of the culture, says Afsar Coowar. “The countries have a culture that our people can easily adapt to. So, they have a partiality towards these countries.” Other popular destinations include South Africa, Middle East countries, Republic of Turkey, India and Vietnam.
The different prices
There are several types of packages and the price varies accordingly. For Asian packages, the price starts as from Rs 20,000 excluding the air ticket. The price varies according to the country chosen and the number of days. For instance, for Hong Kong & Malaysia Tour, you need Rs 25,000 or above. For Middle East countries, you will need to spend around Rs 15,000 excluding air ticket. For example, in order to spend 6 to 7 nights in a four-star hotel in Dubai, you need around Rs 13,000 excluding tickets. For the Republic of Turkey, the travelling budget starts as from Rs 15,000. The trip to Malaysia-Singapore-Thailand is as from Rs 15,000.
Mohammad Zafiir Bholah : “Visiting Singapore and Malaysia”
A Chemistry Educator, Zafiir Bholah is travelling to two Southeast Asian countries: Singapore and Malaysia. He has decided to travel in December because it is the festive period. He has chosen these two countries for multiple reasons. “I have opted for Singapore because I want to visit the Gardens by the Bay with the Supertree Grove, which is described as very beautiful and vibrant with its iconic futuristic structures. The Singapore Zoo is very appealing with its lush vegetation housing the marvelous orangutans and komodo dragons.”
In Malaysia, he is planning to visit Melaka which is a place of interest for its Dutch and Portuguese history. “We cannot go to Malaysia without visiting Kuala Lampur with its bustling activities and it is described as one of the best shopping destinations.” He is hoping to have the best experience.
Anishta Seesurrun : “Christmas in Europe”
Consultant and Founder President of the Flame of Phoenix is flying to Europe this Christmas. She is going to visit Switzerland and Germany. “I have to live the magic of Christmas in Europe. The Christmas market is very much appreciated by tourists around the world.”
She reveals that she will be in Strasbourg first and then move on to Alsace and Bourgogne. “I will not let go of the opportunity to visit the town of Riquewihr and Beaune. I will also be at Montreux, which is known for its international jazz festival and also very appreciated by the stars of Bollywood and the people of Geneva for the professional and tourist rating. My last Christmas stop will be the best amusement park in the world at Europa Park. Christmas night is a compilation of themed shows and attractions.”
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