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Avinash Gopee, Chairman of the Tourism Authority
Avinash Gopee, Chairman of the Tourism Authority

Hilton Mauritius recently hosted a remarkable event celebrating excellence in sustainability within the tourism sector—the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Awards 2024. The event saw leaders, stakeholders, and enthusiasts gather to acknowledge and reward outstanding efforts in promoting sustainable tourism. Avinash Gopee, Chairman of the Tourism Authority, delivered a compelling speech that highlighted the current state and future aspirations of sustainable tourism in Mauritius and beyond.

It is my immense pleasure to welcome you all to the Sustainable Tourism Mauritius Awards 2024. We gather here at the beautiful Hilton Mauritius to celebrate excellence in sustainability within our tourism sector,” began Avinash Gopee, setting a tone of appreciation and excitement for the evening. 

He shared promising projections from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), stating that “the WTTC projects a record-breaking year for Travel & Tourism in 2024, with the sector’s global economic contribution set to reach an unprecedented $11.1 trillion. This remarkable achievement underscores the pivotal role of Travel & Tourism as a global economic powerhouse, generating one in every ten dollars worldwide, and supporting nearly 348 million jobs globally.

Reflecting on the past year’s performance, Avinash Gopee noted the sector’s resilience despite global challenges. “Our sector demonstrated remarkable resilience, contributing nearly $10 trillion to the global economy, representing 9.1% of global GDP, and adding 27.4 million jobs, bringing the total to nearly 330 million worldwide. This success story underscores our sector’s critical role in global economic and employment growth,” he remarked.

However, Avinash Gopee acknowledged ongoing challenges, particularly in major tourism markets like the U.S. and China, which have seen slower returns of international visitor spending. He emphasized the need for continuous support and strategic initiatives to boost recovery and ensure long-term growth.


For the forthcoming financial year, the Tourism Authority aims to support at least 300 SMEs in the tourism and accommodation sectors towards recognized certification, partnering with the WTTC under its internationally recognized Hotel Sustainability Basics program



Sustainability remains a top priority, with destinations worldwide striving to balance economic and social growth with environmental stewardship. Avinash Gopee highlighted several leading examples: “Costa Rica, a global leader in ecotourism, has protected approximately 25% of its territory, fostering rich biodiversity. Slovenia’s Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism (GSST) promotes sustainable tourism through comprehensive criteria. Palau’s mandatory environmental pledge for visitors sets a high standard for marine conservation. The Galápagos Islands’ strict visitor regulations and efforts to protect native species serve as another excellent model.”

Drawing inspiration from these successes, Avinash Gopee stressed the importance of involving communities and the population at large in sustainability efforts. “Developing a national pledge for residents and tourists to actively protect and respect our natural and cultural heritage, along with an improved government certification strategy, will encourage sustainable practices among our tourism businesses,” he said.

The Tourism Authority is committed to making these changes happen sooner rather than later. Avinash Gopee highlighted the establishment of a permanent Sustainable Tourism Unit at the Tourism Authority, and ongoing projects like the Bel Ombre certification and the platform.

Avinash Gopee also announced significant policy changes under his chairmanship, including revisions to the star rating mechanism to incorporate sustainability criteria for higher classifications. “For the forthcoming financial year, the Tourism Authority aims to support at least 300 SMEs in the tourism and accommodation sectors towards recognized certification, partnering with the WTTC under its internationally recognized Hotel Sustainability Basics program,” he added.

Regarding the awards, Avinash Gopee reminded attendees of the initiative’s origins in 2022 and celebrated its third consecutive year. “As we celebrate sustainable efforts, we acknowledge that while not everyone can win an award, many stakeholders are adopting the best sustainable practices, progressing at their own pace,” he said.

The panel of the jury, led by Mrs. Shirin Gunny, CEO of Made in Moris and AMM, faced the challenging task of selecting winners from a high level of entries. Avinash Gopee applauded their professionalism, transparency, and impartiality.

Tonight, we unveil the winners, recognizing their determination in applying the best recommended practices. They are the role models in sustainable tourism,” he declared, announcing in the same breath that nominees would have access to jury remarks to improve for future editions.

Avinash Gopee expressed gratitude to the event’s partners, including platinum sponsors MauBank and Air Mauritius, and other sponsors AfrAsia, the MTPA, MCB, EC Oxenham, the RRA, Takamaka Winery, Grays, PIM, Peach Payments, MFDC, and hosts Hilton Mauritius.

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