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Sun Resorts now too cramped in Mauritius

The hotel chain is looking for new sources of growth


Rédigé par Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher le Lundi 17 Mars 2014

The hotel corporation, Sun Resorts kicks off the year 2014 more explosively than ever. To find new sources of growth, it plans to expand internationally and resume management of hotels, most likely in the Seychelles, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. A new strategy led at full speed by Philippe Cassis, formally with Starwood. He also hopes to revive the Mauritian market. He has in turn called on local authorities to open up air travel as soon a possible.



The Sun Resorts team is reinforced to conquer new market shares. DR
The Sun Resorts team is reinforced to conquer new market shares. DR
Since his arrival at the head of the Sun Resorts hotel group only two months ago, Philippe Cassis has not wasted time.

After nearly 30 years in the Starwood group, he chose to take on a new challenge: develop the portfolio of Sun Resorts International.

"I've always been attracted to the Indian Ocean and I am delighted to be able to apply to a smaller corporation working methods that I acquired during my years at Starwood" explains Philippe Cassis.

His roadmap is already clear: to consolidate the existing portfolio and expand into new countries.

So far, the group has not yet started the preliminary research, but the Seychelles, the Maldives (where it already has a hotel) and Sri Lanka appear in the objective.

But one thing is certain: Sun Resorts does not want to purchase, considered too expensive to manage. The group aims to retrieve the management of new facilities.

An internal platform is developing, where the group’s future partners will be able to transplant themselves and take advantage of various services (administrative, financial, commercial.)

Philippe Cassis also wants to increase cooperation with major shareholders in the hotel sector such as the “Ciel” group, which shares 20% of the stakes with Constance and Anahita Four Seasons (50%).

Opening air routes: the essential condition for the development of Mauritius

Second challenge: consolidating its positions in Mauritius, in which the Sun group has five of the six.

Indeed, the numbers from 2013 are far from excellent with a 61% occupancy rate and a target of 69% for next year.

In contrast, the French market is doing quite well. Despite an overall drop of 4% in arrivals, Sun Resorts show an increase of 42% in the number of passengers.

A growth that is no stranger to the proliferation of commercial offers.

The overall average package rate has dropped by 4 to 5%, reaching €200, including the 4 stars Amber Hotel, repositioned as an all inclusive for adults. A successful initiative thanks to reached early reservations objectives.

Overall, the situation in Mauritius is far from excellent. Since 2008, the island has not been able to exceed the one million visitors. The economic crisis that caused soaring ticket prices is to be blamed only partly.

Mauritius is resting on its laurels...

The destination was indeed resting on its laurels, lagging to attract new customers from emerging countries like its main competitor, the Maldives.

"Their geographical position goes to their advantage, along with their more flexible air policy, with nearly 200 weekly flights versus only 80 in Mauritius" explains Arnaud Martin, marketing director.

The lack of an open sky policy is an issue regularly raised by tourism professionals, yet authorities do little to solve it.

Certainly, some adjustments have been made, such as the arrival of Emirates with its A380 in December, as well as the company Thomson Airways. This branch of “Tui” has also made early reservation at half of the rooms of Amber.

But these soothing actions are far from sufficient. "If the authorities want to change the situation, they must take immediate and drastic measures" insists Philippe Cassis, not afraid of candor.

"We can not continue to complain for another 10 years. We need to provide better access to our hotels and promote this destination differently."

Because only growth alone can end this price war that damaging all of the Mauritian tourism economy.

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