LOCATION AND SIZE.
Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean, located 2,400 kilometers (1,491 miles) off the southeast coast of Africa. It has a total area of 1,860 square kilometers (781 square miles), and a coastline of 177 kilometers (110 miles). The Republic of Mauritius also includes the barely populated Agalega Islands and the Cargados Carajos Shoals, as well as Rodrigues (population 35,000). The capital, Port Louis, is situated on the west coast of the island, and has a population of approximately 136,000.
In Mauritius, people switch languages according to the occasion. Over the course of a day a typical Mauritian might use English to write a school essay, Creole Morisien to chat with friends and French to read a novel
Tourism is a big foreign exchange earner for Mauritius, which has marketed itself as an "exclusive" destination. About 5 percent of GDP is derived from the tourism sector, and revenues currently amount to US$100 million per annum. Most visitors come from Europe— 66 percent of the market—with France and the UK providing 175,400 and 58,700 tourists, respectively. Africa's market share is 27 percent, with tourists coming mainly from South Africa and Reunion Island. About 17,111 people are employed in the tourism sector, 65 percent of these in the hotel industry.
The cuisine of Mauritius is a blend of Indian, Creole, Chinese and European influences. It is common for a combination of cuisines to form part of the same meal.