Tourism was the third pillar of the Mauritian economy after the E.P.Z.(export processing zone) manufacturing sector and Agriculture. It has contributed significantly to economic growth and has been a key factor in the overall development of Mauritius since the years 1995 onwards. In the past two decades tourist arrivals increased at an average annual rate of 9 % with a corresponding increase of about 21% in tourism receipts.
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Tourist arrivals have been expanding consequently, thus rising from 103,000 in 1977 to 656,450 in 2000, a more than 600% increase. About 67% of the tourist arrivals are of European origin, with France supplying nearly half. The nearby Reunion French Territory is the most important short haul source market accounting for about 13% of total tourist arrivals. Asian residents provided 6% of tourist arrivals, almost half of which originated from the Indian Sub-Continent. The World Travel and Tourism council (WTTC) stated that travel and tourism was estimated at 9.3 % in 2010 and is expected to rise up to 9.7% by 2020. This increase will help to create an additional 66 million jobs by 2020, in which 50 million jobs should be created in Asia and hence help to decrease world poverty. The longer-term prospects for Travel & Tourism remain positive, boosted by rising prosperity in Asia. The WTTC remains confident that the Travel and Tourism industry will remain a dynamic force for wealth and job creation all over the world. The tourism industry does not cease to grow despite the problems that it has encountered in the past years, such as the credit crunch, terrorism, continuous increasing petrol prices and the famous avian flu (bird flu). The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) states that tourism recovered strongly in 2010 according to the Advance Release of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Tourist arrivals were up by almost 7% to 935 million, following the 4% decline in 2009 – the year hardest hit by the global economic crisis (https://www.unwto.org) Tourism has become one of the most important pillar and the most revenue generating activity in many small island developing states. It has become the source of job creation and revenue for small island’s inhabitants. A change in the tourism demand for an island may have a major impact on the Gross Domestic Product (total value of goods and services produced in a country during a certain period of time, usually one year), the budget and the Balance of Payments. Most small islands have adopted tourism due to a lack of development opportunities. The end of the twentieth century marked the beginning of the tourism as the main pillar of small islands’ economies (Bonte 2006), as it is the case for Mauritius. In large part, islands and cruises have become the most wanted vacation for tourists (Harrison,
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