The tropical island of Mauritius has revived its ancient role as an Indian Ocean transit hub through an historic air corridor agreement that will bring Asia and Africa closer together, placing Mauritius as the passageway between the two continents.
Connecting through Changi Airport in Singapore, Air Mauritius benefits from a code-share agreement that allows their flights to appear on Singapore Airline’s distribution networks, increasing sales potential to Chinese destinations. Within the first year of its operation, the corridor has witnessed as increase of 20,000 passengers for Air Mauritius, encouraging the national airline to add a fourth non-stop weekly flight to Singapore by July 2017 and a fifth by 2018, a senior government official has announced. Such a boost in connectivity between Mauritius and China is a major moment in building cross-continential engagement. “We believe that the air corridor will modify for the better the destiny of our two large continents,” says Georges Chung, Senior Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Mauritius. Indeed, Mauritius is the best located to connect them, says Chung. “If you measure the route between Asia to the east coast of Africa, going through Mauritius is the shortest way in terms of travel time,” he says.
With new connectivity, new business, especially in tourism, is expected to flourish. “The objective is for Mauritius to become a hub for visitors to Africa,” says François Eynaud, CEO of Veranda Leisure & Hospitality, a leading luxury hotel group in Mauritius. “Chinese tourists,” he adds, “will love our island for its fresh air and nature.”