The Mauritius tourist board has angered agents by urging five-star hotels on the island to stop offering all-inclusive holidays because it says they tarnish the destination’s image.
Robert Desvaux, president of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, told a local news website that five-star hotels offering all-inclusive damage the island’s “high-end image”.
He argued that the Mauritian hotel industry must “play its cards as an exclusive destination”, and only three or four-star properties should offer all-inclusive packages.
The popularity of all-inclusives has rocketed in recent years as customers try to control costs. Abta’s Travel Convention is due be held at an all-inclusive hotel for the first time in Turkey next week.
Agents said removing the all-inclusive option would result in clients going elsewhere.
Nicholas Harding-McKay, owner of Travel Designers in Clapham, said: “Mauritius has been very successful at providing all-inclusive. Even some of our high-spend clients are demanding all-inclusive. If Mauritius stopped this, they would lose a lot of customers to other destinations such as the Caribbean and even Dubai.”
McKay said the island was “misreading client demands”.
Steve O’Loughlin, head of trade sales at Western & Oriental, said he was surprised by the comments.
He said Mauritius’s tourism is a “very crowded market”, and offering all-inclusive packages was a way for hotels to differentiate themselves.
In a statement, the tourism promotion authority said: “For the sake of clarity, the five-star properties need to distinguish themselves from five-star all-inclusive. All-inclusive hotels will not be obliged to terminate their current ways of working.”
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