(eTN) - A regular source from Port Louis has confirmed information that Mauritius has relaxed visa requirements for 29 African countries and 75 countries overall, aimed to facilitate greater bonds with those countries vis-a-vis trade and travel.
Restrictive visa regimes were according to tourism sources from Mauritius at least in part to blame in the past for less than expected travel from the African mainland to the island, a situation now apparently recognized by the foreign ministry and progressively remedied.
While the move was broadly welcomed, one source had this to say: âWe welcome this news as a good start, but it can only be a start. What we need to do is to emulate Seychelles where no visa [is] required at all. Their success in tourism is not just a result of the St.Ange factor. It is also a result of being able to tell potential visitors to just get on a plane and fly there, no visa, no hassle. I think if Seychelles has the mechanism to control visitors actually leaving at the end of their stay, we in Mauritius should be able to do that, too. We have a much larger population, of course, but the technology at the airport now takes pictures of visitors and if now tries to overstay they can easily be pinpointed. So ideally, one day soon, we should also abolish the visa altogether, because that will bring a boom of more visitors to Mauritius.â
Mauritius will for 2012 very likely lose the status as the most-visited Indian Ocean island to the Maldives with third places Sri Lanka also catching up fast now that the civil conflict there is over and investments in the hospitality sector are booming, a trend a visa-free regime would very likely and very effectively counter.