Mauritius, an island covering 1,860 square kilometres (720 square miles), is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1242 miles) off the south East coast of Africa. More than 150 kilometres (93 miles) of white sandy beaches and transparent lagoon are protected from the open sea by the world’s third largest coral reef, which surrounds the island.
Mauritius is predominantly a holiday destination for beach-resort tourists. It possesses a wide range of natural and man-made attractions, enjoys a sub-tropical climate with clear warm sea waters, attractive beaches, tropical fauna and flora complemented by a multi-ethnic and cultural population that is friendly and welcoming.
These tourism assets are, its main strength, especially since they are backed up by well-designed and run hotels, and reliable and operational services and infrastructures. The hosts are being seen product and the “hospitality atmosphere” has more and more as the nucleus of the tourism been receiving increasing attention.
The population is estimated at 1.2 million. It forms a mosaic of different races, cultures and religions since Mauritians are descendants of immigrants from the Indian sub-continent, Africa, Europe and China. The cultural diversity and racial harmony of the island make of Mauritius a unique place. Most Mauritians are multilingual, being fluent in Creole, French and English. English is the official language.
The island had for a long time remained unknown and uninhabited. Arab sailors reportedly visited it during the Middle Ages, and on maps of about 1500, it is shown by an Arabic name ‘Dina Arabi’. The Portuguese sailor Domingo Fernandez Pereira was the first European to land on the island around 1507. The island appears with a Portuguese name `Cirne’ on early Portuguese maps, probably because of the presence of the Dodo, a flightless bird found in great numbers at that time.