RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) hosted for the very first time a 3D Virtual Tourism Exhibition on August 10th, 2020. The event was held online specifically for the Saudi Arabian and Middle East market, in what is considered a tourism industry first within the Middle East.
The unique 3D online platform allowed representatives from the Mauritius travel industry, such as hotels, tour operators and attraction representatives, to host their own virtual stands and meet, interact and conduct meetings with key outbound travel professionals and travel agents, from Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Gulf Countries of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. While virtual, the platform is realistic enough to provide all exhibitors and participants with an immersive and engaging experience - just as they would experience in an actual exhibition. The 3D exhibition has been implemented and coordinated by AVIAREPS, MTPA’s marketing representative in Saudi Arabia. A similar 3D virtual exhibition was also recently conducted by AVIAREPS in June 2020 on the behalf of the European Commission with Chinese travel professionals, which resulted in a resounding success for all involved.
The objective of the exhibition is to position Mauritius as the optimum travel destination for rejuvenation, excitement and luxury lifestyle experiences for travellers from the Middle East, once travel to Mauritius is again permitted. During the virtual exhibition Middle Eastern travel professionals have been provided with various updates and information regarding future travel options and the attractions of Mauritius, along with concrete opportunities for Mauritius tourism providers and Middle Eastern travel professionals to explore all avenues for mutual business development.
A total of 18 exhibitors attended the fair as part of the Mauritius delegation, which includes representatives of MTPA as host. The Mauritius Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Shaukat Ali Soudhan has made a virtual appearance and visited the event. A total of 182 Middle East travel industry professionals joined the exhibition, with 71% of those hailing from Saudi Arabia.
Each attendee to the exhibition has been able to create his own individualised avatar, which allowed the visitor to ‘virtually’ navigate the exhibition space, with the option of reaching out to other individuals around them, as well as approaching each branded booth and stand of the exhibitors. At the stands, visitors were able to automatically view the exhibitor’s promotional video, download their brochures, exchange business cards, as well as chat with the exhibitor, or hold a private online audio meeting, that was either pre-scheduled or held impromptu upon reaching out to the exhibitor at the fair.
Says Mr. Glenn Johnston, Representative of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority office in Saudi Arabia: “Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic the Saudi market was one of our fastest growing markets. Launching our first-ever 3D Virtual Exhibition in the kingdom allowed us to not only re-connect with our esteemed travel partners there, but also demonstrate the innovation and ability of MTPA to provide quality and safe experiences that effectively promote and position Mauritius internationally in a Covid-19 pandemic world.”
He added, “Through this platform we have been able to showcase the great beauty and luxury lifestyle and family experiences that Mauritius has to offer, so that once travel from Saudi Arabia and the region is permitted again, travellers can be confident that not only will their travels be exciting and memorable, but they will also be able to travel with peace-of-mind knowing that every health and safety precaution has been taken care of.”
As an island nation in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius was quick to respond with strict measures to contain any outbreak of Covid-19 in the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic to date, a total of 344 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Mauritius resulting in 10 deaths. Today, there are currently zero active cases on the island.
In addition to the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority participating at the event, other exhibitors include:
- Hotels & Resorts: Anantara IKO Mauritius Resort & Villas, Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Constance Hotels, Resorts and Golf, Intercontinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort, Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa, RIU Hotels & Resorts, Shanti Maurice Resort & Spa, The LUX Collective, The Residence, VLH LTD – Management
- Destination Management Companies (DMCs): AS-Siyaaha Tour Operator LTD, Happy Planet, Luxe Voyage, Tam Tam Tours
- Attractions & Others: Blue Safari Submarine, Tourism Promotion Association.