‘Much more than sea, sand and sun’, say Fam Trip delegatesThe reputation of Mauritius as a destination can sometimes be too high for its own good. Incentives-cum-meetings held in Mauritius could be conceived as the height of luxury at a time when austerity has been the buzzword. In fact, the cost can be surprisingly modest for a never-to-be-forgotten trip to an island paradise in the Indian Ocean.
Beachcomber Hotels, with eight properties the largest hotel group on Mauritius, is offering for example, along with Air Mauritius flights, four nights in Mauritius on half board in a junior suite at £950 per person.
‘Travel from Europe to Mauritius for only a 4-night stay?’ might be an obvious question, but that is exactly what a group of top UK incentive houses did at the beginning of May. It was a Fam Trip hosted by Chaya McLaren, the MICE groups specialist at Beachcomber Hotels and Rakesh Joomuck, Business Development Executive of Air Mauritius.
‘Flights out of London Heathrow and back again’, Rakesh points out, ‘are overnight, so it leaves a group a full four days to enjoy all the island has to offer’. The group spent a night each at The Trou Aux Biches Resort & Spa and Le Victoria Hotel and two nights at the Paradis Hotel & Golf Club.
Commenting on what was her first-ever visit to Mauritius, one of the group, Shirley Williams, Senior Business Travel Consultant at Quorn Business Travel, said the biggest surprise was how much Mauritius has to offer. ‘I honestly feel that in advertising the island as a MICE destination, much more emphasis should be on the very wide range of activities that can be built into a programme. People imagine it simply as a sea, sun and sand paradise, which it is, but it is also so much more.’
This was well illustrated by the itinerary of the Fam Trip. In addition to the three hotels where they stayed, the group also did site inspections of two other Beachcomber properties, the Shandrani Resort & Spa and the Dinarobin Hotel Golf & Spa.
Louise Joplin, Head of Marketing at Gray Dawes, on her first visit to Mauritius, comments: ‘All the hotels were excellent and I was particularly impressed by how nice everyone was and the level of service they provided’.
Included in the 4-day trip were a helicopter flight out of the Paradis to view the island’s famous Le Morne craggy mountain; a lunch at the Chateau de Labourdonnais, one of the many colonial properties available for events, a speedboat trip out of the capital, Port Louis, quad biking. a zip line adventure, a catamaran cruise and a jeep safari.
Shirley Williams thought that it would be worth adding a couple of days to get the most out of the long-haul trip, but Louise Joplin was of the opinion that the 4days/4nights stay worked very well and could be recommended for an incentive. ‘Obviously’, she explains, ‘a group could stay at one hotel and select a smaller number of the activities and still have a full and varied programme’.
The Fam Trip was in Economy on the outward flight and Air Mauritius Business Class for the return flight. ‘Service on the airline was generally very good’, says Shirley. ‘The Business Class leg I would describe as excellent’.