The number of foreigners visiting the Indian Ocean island nation advanced to 265,838 in the first three months of 2013 from 261,995 a year earlier, Port Louis-based Statistics Mauritius, said in a statement on its website. Tourist numbers rose 9.5 percent to 91,759 in March from the year before.
Arrivals from Europe, which account for more than half of Mauritius’s tourists, declined 8 percent in the first quarter, with a decrease of visitors from Spain, Italy and France. The number of leisure travelers from Asia jumped 37 percent while arrivals from Africa rose 16 percent, according to the statistics office.
Tourism represented about 8.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product last year and it is one of the largest foreign exchange earners.
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