THERE has been a drop in the number of Irish and British tourists visiting Mauritius in the wake of Michaela McAreavey’s murder - and it seems that trend will continue following the failure of police there to find and convict the new bride’s killer or killers.
The “paradise island” welcomes around one million visitors each year, but a spokesman for the tourism industry there recently admitted the tragedy has affected the number travelling from this part of the world.
Vincent Seetaram said numbers have fallen, but also blamed other factors like the economy. Her said, “Such things (the murder) happen everywhere in the world.”
Giving evidence a number of weeks ago at the trial Michaela’s widower John said his schoolteacher-fiancée had used her summer holidays to research their honeymoon destinations and chose Mauritius as she had heard such good reports about the island.
Just over a week into their honeymoon, having travelled from Dubai, Michaela was strangled in her room after returning to fetch biscutis to go with a cup of tea as her new husband awaited her return at a poolside restaurant.
A number of people locally have now said they would boycott the island, because of their dissatisfaction with how the murder inquiry and subsequent trial was handled.
Add to that the recent publication in a Mauritian Sunday newspaper of pictures of the murder scene including some featuring Michaela’s corpse, and people from John’s hometown have said they will stand by his side in shunning the island as a holiday destination.
Colin Wilson said, “I’ve never given much credence to local gossip rags but this is gutter journalism , disgusting and sordid. Boycott this place and send a strong message of support to the family.
“There’s nothing normal about printing photos of murder victims especially after such a sensitive and publicised case. It’s a sordid and pathetic way to try and boost paper sales. The McAreavey and Harte families have been through enough without this.”
Amanda Gilmour said the actions of the paper were “despicable”. “The families have been through so much, they don’t need this,” she said.