Mauritius axe takes trade by surprise

Mauritius axe takes trade by surprise
By admin

The travel industry’s “front line” has been left to pick up the pieces following an Air Mauritius decision to “prematurely” announce the suspension of flights from Sydney and Melbourne, the boss of specialist wholesaler Beachcomber Tours has said.

In a message to travel agents, Rod Eather , who is chairman of the Council of Australian Tour Operators, said the suddenness of the news had left wholesalers struggling to respond to questions from agents and the public.
The flights will be withdrawn from the end of May.
Eather said: “Unfortunately, in announcing the cessation of the Sydney and Melbourne flights prematurely, airline management in Mauritius did not consider the consequences to those on the front line in being unable to advise a number of things accurately and confidently.”
They include what will be offered to passengers on Virgin domestic legs to connect to the remaining Perth services and, fundamentally, “how existing bookings will be handled”. 
“This leaves us in the unenviable situation of currently not being able to answer all questions you or your clients may have,” Eather told the trade.
But while describing the changes as “detrimental in some ways”, Eather said the additional Perth flight will provide greater flexibility. Rather than “restrictive” six or 13 night stays in Mauritius, six, eight, 11 or 13 night holidays will now be possible.
He also flagged the potential of earning frequent flyer points on the domestic leg with Virgin or Qantas, improved connections for passengers from Adelaide and Darwin and the potential of stop overs in Perth.
The cost of international taxes will also be less, he said.
Eather added that the reinstatement of Air Austral services from Sydney to Mauritius via Reunion will help soften the blow of losing non-stop flights.
Adventure World head of product Neil Rodgers said that he was hopeful that the decision would be reconsidered.
“If this goes ahead, it will make it a lot more difficult to sell the destination to the Eastern States, with the South Pacific right on their doorstep,” he said.

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