Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:16

Mauritius sees boom in medical tourism

Rated among the most competitive and prosperous economies in Africa by the World Bank, Mauritius' success is built on sand.

The island's sugar-white beaches are the heart of its tourist economy, which contributes over 25% of GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

But now, thanks to attractive pricing and high competency, a new industry is rising in the tropical paradise: plastic surgery.

From just 1,000 foreign patients arriving for treatment in 2005, Mauritius welcomed 12,000 in 2012, and 16,000 last year, according to government figures.

The government is now branching into the lucrative medical tourism industry -- a field projected to generate $678.5 billion worldwide in 2017 by medical think tank the Global Wellness Institute -- as a key plank of its national development plan.

Read more on CNN Travel

Image credit: Reve Tourism 
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The Mauritius Minister for Tourism Mr. Michael Sik Yuen earlier this week made public the criteria to be used for the classification and grading of hotels across the island.

Aimed at enhancing the quality of services and reflect the reality of how clients see a hotel's standing vis a vis the present self styled allocation of 'stars', the new system was developed by the MTPA in close cooperation with international advisors, local stakeholders and tourism experts.

It is not clear though, if the Mauritius model of grading and classification of hotels, resorts, lodges, inns and restaurants has been done with any consultation with the other 'Vanilla Islands' to be comparable across other Indian Ocean main tourist destinations, similar to the development of East Africa's catalogue of criteria for grading and classification of hospitality businesses under the auspices of the East African Community, or if the Mauritius model has been developed purely for Mauritius alone and hence in some degree of isolation.

The question has been sent, if alternatively - RETOSA recently held a meeting of SADC tourism ministers in Port Louis - the new system has been harmonized with SADC or been aligned with other RETOSA member countries as a regular contributor from the island has questioned: 'It is all fair and good to put such a new system into place. But first, how capable is MTPA, how are the human resources in regard of training those doing the rating and grading. We all know how MTPA compares in the Indian Ocean region when it comes to promoting our tourism industry where others are capturing the limelight ahead of us. Secondly, were those criteria in any way created by looking at what other SADC members have done, or have we now reinvented the wheel. There are always close contacts with Seychelles, has their system been looked at and been compared?' Justified questions and perhaps answers will be forthcoming, so as the saying here goes, watch this space

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