PETER CHELLEN
Founder and editor
of ex-monthly Mauritius News
London

In Mauritius, the City Council of Port Louis insists that all those who wish to make their properties available for letting to overseas visitors should provide a landing bay with parking facilities, however small the accommodation may be and which may yet have all the amenities for visitors.

It may be borne in mind that not all overseas visitors may necessarily need the use of personal cars during their stay in Mauritius. It is an undeniable fact that most of the old bungalows, owned by individuals and let to overseas visitors have no parking facilities or the luxury of a parking bay. The Tourism Authority and the local councils do not bother about them, and rightly so.

Yet, life is made a hell for the new applicants to let their properties to overseas visitors. It is right that there should be absolute compliance with the Health & Safety regulations. But this should not be exaggerated. The Tourism Authority cannot and should not ask the same level of compliance from the modest B & Bs as from the big hotel complexes, especially as regards parking areas.

Good Bus Service

However, in spite of the fact that in up-market Mauritius as a tourist destination backpackers may not come in swarms as elsewhere, there are still a few backpackers getting off the planes, especially those who have made friends with Mauritians in their own countries, like France, because of the common language and the proximity of La Réunion which they visit on the same trip to Mauritius. La Réunion is not fussy about the backpackers, especially from mother country France. The backpackers do not need car service. They travel by bus. Mauritius has a good bus service throughout the island. Numerous foreign visitors take the Express bus service at Grand Bay, as mentioned below.

The City of Port Louis is heavily congested at both entrances from the North of the island and from the South. Traffic can hardly move in the morning into the city and out in the afternoon. Although office work normally starts at 9 a.m., some car-owners leave home as early as 6 a.m. to avoid having to sit for hours in the traffic queues. So, in spite of the pollution level and the heavy congestion, why do the Mauritian authorities insist that overseas visitors should make use of personal vehicles while they are in the country to add to the congestion and the pollution of the island?

The insistence on the provision of landing bays with parking facilities for every type of accommodation for foreign visitors is an anomaly existing in the Mauritian legislation. In the whole wide world, Mauritius must be an exception to make such provisions. Bed and Breakfast accommodations in other countries do not provide any parking bay and well less any parking facilities.

Congestion Charge

London imposes a congestion charge of £12 on private cars coming into the city centre. An additional £10 charge, known as Toxicity Charge, is now imposed on older cars likely to cause more pollution. In this respect, we are making it a point to publish, with this article, one or two pictures of hotels and B & Bs in London that do not have any landing bays and parking facilities for their guests.(see photos)

Londoners and visitors are encouraged to use bicycles in London, which are made available in various parts of the metropolis.(see photo) Several nerve centres have been made into pedestrian areas only. Surely, the Mauritian officials on visit to other countries will have seen that not all hotels and especially B & Bs are provided with landing bays and parking areas.

Bikes available to encourage guests not to use cars

Hopefully the government will see the anomaly of the provision of landing bays and parking areas within the island’s legislation for all types of visitors’ accommodation and will wish to have it modified. This sort of requirements applies only to new applicants. Yet, there are old letting places in Mauritius, near the coasts especially, which are being let to overseas visitors without any parking facilities, as mentioned above.

Appeal

So, why does Mauritius encourage the use of more cars in the City of Port Louis by insisting that provision should be made for more cars on the roads? Perhaps, one day Mauritius may have to impose similar measures as London to promote its eco-tourism policy, especially with the use of the light railways in perspective. In the meantime an appeal is made to the Tourism Minister and the Local Government Minister to amend legislation as required to bring the country in line with other tourist destinations in the world.

In the area of Grand Bay, taxi-drivers complain that the Express bus service picks up tourists who would normally travel by cars. So, the overseas visitors have raised up to the situation and make use of public transport, like buses, instead. The local MP should know that overseas visitors do travel by bus in Grand Bay and the Tourism ministry should not insist that modest B & Bs should necessarily provide parking facilities and a parking bay for guests.
This is a message to those who have ears (and read of course) !

HOTELS AND B & BS IN LONDON

No landing bays or parking
facilities to their guests

In Mauritius, many hotels have no parking facilities (or in the immediate vicinity) and the attention of the CEO of the Port Louis City Council has been drawn to this fact. For

The Russell Hotel where guests come by bus

example, the new Champ de Mars of Port Louis, The Gold Crest and the Gold Nest in Quatre-Bornes do not provide parking facilities in the immediate vicinity.

The Russell Hotel where guests come by bus

In London, we can see that the Russell Hotel in Victoria (a B & B), the majestic Amba Hotel in Charing X, the Holiday Inn on Wandsworth Road, near us, do not provide parking facilities. Guests arrive by taxis, and by buses. The Mauritian authorities demand parking facilities even for a one-bedroom self-contained flat.

The Wandsworth Road Premier Inn on the
high street where guests come on foot