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  Mauritius tourist arrivals up 5.5 pct in H1

      Reuters Africa - 23 septembre 2008

PORT LOUIS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Tourist arrivals in Mauritius grew 5.5 percent to 455,758 visitors in the first half of 2008, compared with 432,113 in the same period last year, official figures showed on Tuesday.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said in a statement that tourist arrivals from Europe , which accounted for 65.7 percent of total arrivals, went up 4.3 per cent to 299,233 in the first half of 2008 from 286,929 last year.

The Indian Ocean island nation aims to boost visitor numbers by about 10 percent per year to reach a target of two million tourists by 2015 from 907,000 in 2007.

CSO said France had been the largest tourism market for the island during the period.

The Mauritius government said last year it expected the sector would see slower growth in 2008 as economic slowdowns in key European markets and high fuel prices begin to bite. (Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff; Writing by Wangui Kanina; editing by David Stamp)

Reuters Africa 2008