The cruise business segment has witnessed a major boost in its activities following an intensive marketing campaign under the Cruise Vanilla Islands initiative, which comprises of Mauritius, Reunion Island, Madagascar and the Seychelles. Mauritius, which is already a world-renowned tourist destination, welcomes over 1 million tourists annually and efforts have been undertaken to develop the cruise business segment. Port Louis Harbour is increasingly playing an important role in the growth of the island’s tourism industry through the development of facilities to accommodate cruise vessels. Statistics show that Cruise liners are showing a keen interest for the Indian Ocean destination. Mauritius not only aims to position itself as a world class cruise destination but also as a hub for the Vanilla Islands in the Indian Ocean region.
A dedicated cruise jetty located at Les Salines is operational since 2009. Port Louis has home port calls, in addition to transit calls made by cruise vessels on world cruises. Indian Ocean cruise itineraries are seasonal, with Carnival Group’s Costa Crociere deploying a vessel to the Indian Ocean region for five months of the year.
Buoyed by Costa Crociere resuming their homeporting activities at Port Louis since 2015, the port registered approximately 35,000 passengers on arrival in FY16/17. This good run is expected to continue in 2018 with the arrival of another cruise line, Aida, which will be partnering with Costa and has planned 4 calls for the 2017/2018 season. Additionally, Fred Olsen, which is a Norwegian cruise line, has recently started homeporting from Port Louis and offers regional cruise packages, with four calls expected this season. It is expected that some 35 cruise vessels, including round the world cruise lines, will call at Port Louis in the 2017/2018 season, with a total passenger traffic of over 40,000 passengers and an additional 20,000 passengers by 2025.
The cruise business segment is bringing substantial benefits to the local economy in terms of direct employment opportunities for Mauritians on board cruise vessels and other benefits linked to the supply of stores, water, bunker and inland tourism etc.