The primary mission of the Vanilla Islands Organisations is to assist the various island member states and their respective tourism boards to further promote and enhance the concept and development of island hopping combinations between the islands. Increased visibility that can be translated into more bookings is our principal target to provide the additional exposure to the Indian Ocean region and the diversity of its islands.
On the occasion of ITB Berlin, one of the most important tourism trade fairs, it is of prime importance to establish the booking trends into the Indian Ocean region and to assess the demand for such bookings from the German market.
We view the German market as one of the most strategic for our region. In 2013, it represented the second largest market (9.2% of all international arrivals) after France (30.4 % of all international arrivals) as the primary source market for the majority of the Vanilla Islands of the Indian Ocean.
Following a slight decrease of 3% in 2013, the early trends for 2014 are very encouraging: arrivals for January and February 2014 have recorded a net progression of over 5% over the same period last year.
We have also noted that the this tendency is very much on the rise as the booking orders for arrivals between March and December 2014 has a global upward trend of over 20% for the majority of the Vanilla Islands member states.
Three main islands are leading this growth trend namely Mauritius (+34%), Maldives (+19%) and Seychelles (+11%). La Réunion is also registering and interesting progressive growth trend (+2%).
These trends emanate from a series of research and facts collected by a company called Forwardkeys on the major worldwide reservations systems. These figures represent slightly more than 50% of tourism arrivals and therefore a very good indicator of the forward trends for 2014.