chapter  4
British and French Visitors’ Motivations and Images of Mauritius: A Qualitative Approach
ByGirish Prayag
Pages 16

The year 2007 turned out to be exceptional, with an estimated 906 971 international tourist arrivals, representing an increase of 15.1% from 2006 figures. However, with the global financial crisis and economic downturn, international tourist arrivals grew by only 2.6% in 2008 (Handbook of Tourism Statistics, 2008). The branding process was completed, and the brand ‘Mauritius’ with the tag line C’est un plaisir was launched in October 2009. While it is too early to assess the effectiveness of the branding strategy for Mauritius, in a period of economic downturn branding theory suggests that a more focused communication strategy, a clear brand value proposition and positioning, and consistency in image marketing are critical for survival (Kapferer, 2008). Hopefully, the new brand image for Mauritius will enable the destination to maintain its popularity in its various target markets. To date, the French market remains the leader in generating countries for Mauritius, with an estimated international tourist arrivals of 240 028 in 2007, followed by the United Kingdom (107 297), Germany (65 165) and Italy (69 510). In the Southern African region, South Africa and Reunion Island remain the two main generating markets, with an estimated 81,733 and 95,823 international tourist arrivals, respectively. India (42,974), China (7739) and Australia (19,635) remain the main generating markets for the region of Asia and Australasia (Handbook of Statistics, 2007). Therefore, some evidence exists to suggest that market diversification and new product development strategies have contributed to reverse the decline in tourist numbers for the island. This context sets the scene for understanding whether British and French visitors’ perceptions of the island have changed as a result of new products being marketed by the destination.