Mauritius, the ultimate green destination

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Pristine beaches, transparent turquoise waters, and warm sun; is probably the image you have of Mauritius, the tiny rock in the southwest of the Indian Ocean. An idyllic image which, it is believed, prompted American novelist, Mark Twain, to coin this aphorism, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” The island is today synonymous with the ultimate tourist destination to visit at least once in life. However, it would be a pity to reduce the island’s image to the tagline beach, sea, and sun, because Mauritius has a wealth that is second to none.

The assets of Mauritius are indeed numerous and the island nation has today considerably expanded its offer to an ideal destination for cultural tourism, leisure, sports, nature, and other activities. Its people remain the main attraction; welcoming, smiling, and hospitable, the Mauritian is known for his open-mindedness. This is not surprising when we know that the islanders are the descendants of migrants from Europe, Africa, India, and China. They live today in harmony often cited as an example of peaceful coexistence for the world.

Nevertheless, this model has emerged from the troubled periods of slavery and indentured labour. Two historical facts that are inscribed in the memory of the island, but also on the UNESCO World Heritage List through two sites, the Cultural Landscape of Morne and Aapravasi Ghat. Two sites to visit, if you want to understand the history and the people of the island, next to the places of worship: mosques, temples, churches, and pagodas, which coexist across the island.

This meeting of cultures is also reflected in Mauritian cuisine so rich in spicy flavours offering dishes representative of the world’s cuisines. Our three main trends include Creole cuisine with a strong French influence and African additions, Indian cuisine, itself divided into various regional cuisines and Chinese cuisine. Over the decades these cuisines have been shared, intermixed, and finally appropriated by nearly all Mauritians.

Mauritius is a land of cultural encounters in line with the trends of modern travel driven by sustainability. The island is the ideal place for travellers who want to understand more about the local culture and engage with the local community. Mauritius positions itself as a green tourism destination and has committed itself to develop sustainable activities and leisure-laced experiences during the last few years.

Since 2022, Mauritius is a proud Destination Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. The Tourism Authority (TA) has set up the ‘Sustainable Island Mauritius’ to position Mauritius as a green destination. An initiative that has been recognised at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa Responsible Tourism Awards 2023’ where the island bagged two gold awards for ‘Best for Local Sourcing, Craft and Food’ and ‘Addressing Climate Change’. The TA has been working very closely with international bodies such as the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) as one of the first destinations to adopt the Hospitality Sustainability Basics for the accommodation sector.

Many hotels in Mauritius are focusing on destination-driven experiences which are offering their guests to connect with Mauritius and its people. All stakeholders of Mauritius are trying their best to offer an experiential luxury holiday experience filled with immersive, unique, once-in-a-lifetime activities that leave an impression on the traveller. Activities are available to discover the island and its population, explore villages and pristine landscapes, or visit its various localities and go deep into authentic Mauritius.

To reconnect with nature, there are a multitude of green zones on the island; several circuits are possible namely incursions in part of the primary forests of the island on the heights of Plaine Champagne thanks to the conservation efforts of the National Parks and Conservation Service which has created protected areas (Conservation Management Area) for this purpose. Mauritius also has beautiful mountains that are suitable for climbing on your own or with guides.

The diversification of the Mauritian tourism offer continues in line with the trends of world tourism and is now gaining the sphere of wellness. Traditional spas give way to wellness centres. So, with beach, gastronomy, leisure, nature, and wellness, Mauritius will always have something for the most demanding traveller.

This article was first published in the July 2023 issue of VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine

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