Two years ago, regular scheduled flights between Saudi Arabia and Mauritius officially became a thing. But, it seems Saudi tourists have only recently grown incredibly interested in exploring the East African nation.
According to the latest statistics released by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), travelers from Saudi Arabia to the island nation nearly doubled in the first few months of 2019. Between the months of January and July of this year, travelers from Saudi Arabia to Mauritius increased 49 percent when compared to the same period in 2018.
A total of 13,704 Saudi nationals visited the island in the stated months in 2019, exploring its sandy white beaches and lush green landscape. In 2018, the number of Saudi travelers to Mauritius stood at 9,190. Saudi Arabia is now the 10th most important international market for inbound travelers to Mauritius, a press release of the news confirmed.
"Saudi Arabia is a key strategic market for Mauritius, one which we will continue to proactively engage with, so that more Saudis can experience and enjoy all that our island nation has to offer," said Arvind Bundhun, Director of MTPA, in a statement.
MTPA has increased its promotional and marketing efforts to people in Saudi Arabia to highlight Mauritius as an "ideal destination for Saudi honeymooners and families seeking a paradise destination."
There are currently three direct flights a week from Riyadh and Jeddah to the magical Indian Ocean island via Saudi Arabian Airlines, something that first came to play in 2017. The average flight time between the countries is nearly seven hours and Saudi nationals do not need a visa to enter, making the travel process even more convenient. Saudi-based travel agents have reported an increase in demand for Mauritius — especially during the summer and Eid season.
Diplomatic ties between the two countries have strengthened in recent years. Last year, Mauritius opened up an embassy in Saudi Arabia. Just weeks later, Saudi Arabia's interior minister made an official visit to the East African nation.
In December 2018, MTPA also opened a representative office in Saudi Arabia, allowing it to proactively promote Mauritius as a tourist destination for Saudi travelers. This is done through roadshows, events, billboard ads, digital ads, social media campaigns, and training programs to Saudi-based travel agents.