Mauritius-starved South Africans will not be able to spend this Easter holiday in Mauritius. The island will remain closed to tourists for the first half of the year, including the Easter holiday period and the island has just announced the extension of its mandatory quarantine period until May 31.
Air Mauritius inventory up until July 1 has also been removed from the GDS. The carrier recently updated the trade saying that inventory was now available only from July 1 onwards and all operations remain officially cancelled until May 31.
“We cannot say for definite when operations will resume between RSA and MRU, as the border will be opened in a phased process for residents, nationals, work permit-holders and long-stay travellers, as you have to do a 14-day quarantine period at your own cost. The first phase is only (open to) France and Réunion. Quarantine will be at the properties as identified in the MTPA link on the booking platform by the government,” said Air Mauritius.
Mauritius has traditionally been one of South Africa’s most popular destinations. Ceo of Asata, Otto de Vries, said it was disappointing that South Africans would not be able to visit Mauritius and that agents would miss out on new bookings for this period. He reiterated that it did, however, provide an opportunity for agents to offsell to other island destinations that were open to South African travellers, such as Zanzibar.
Md of World Leisure Holidays, Ramesh Jeenarain, said the extension of the quarantine was not unexpected. Ramesh predicts in a worst-case scenario, that Mauritius will reopen on December 1. He says the island’s strong focus on vaccinations indicates that passengers who visit the island will have to be vaccinated. Ramesh advised that World Leisure Holidays was currently promoting Zanzibar and Maldives and that the company expected the Seychelles to reopen to South Africans soon too.
Ceo of Thompsons Holidays, Joanne Adolphe, added that while Mauritius was taking a cautious approach, it would be a COVID-safe safe destination to visit when it reopened. Every point of contact, from the airport officials, to transfer drivers to frontline resort staff, would have been vaccinated. This means that travellers would ultimately be able to visit the island without fear of getting infected or passing on the virus.
Md of Beachcomber, Terry Munro, said Mauritius’s ongoing closure meant that Beachcomber, like many other industry players, would continue without income for the next few months, struggling to reach a break-even situation. He said the latest updates still did not provide firm clarity on when the island would reopen, and that the trade would have to wait until the Mauritian government announced a firm decision in this regard. He added that the positive news was that the island was moving forward with its vaccination programme and four of Beachcomber’s hotels had already fully vaccinated their staff.