Church in Mauritius Accompanying Tourism Stakeholders amid COVID-19 Restrictions

Jennifer Constantin, Administrative Assistant for the Diocesan Tourism Commission of Mauritius' Port Louis Diocese. Credit: Port Louis Diocese

The leadership of the Catholic Church in Mauritius has, in a report, highlighted the Church’s initiatives to reach out to those in the country’s tourism sector whose livelihoods have been negatively affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Indian Ocean island that has a population of 1.3 million people relies, to a significant extent, on the tourism industry, which employs at least 40,000 people directly. With the global travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the workers’ source of income has been threatened.

In the Wednesday, April 21 report obtained by ACI Africa, the Administrative Assistant for the Diocesan Tourism Commission (CDT) of Port Louis Diocese, Jennifer Constantin, says amid the pandemic, the role of her office “is a question of listening, supporting and encouraging Mauritians who work and evolve in the tourism sector.”

The Commission also has the role of helping the tourism sector stakeholders “not to lose sight of the essential and universal values ​​which mark out the road to human happiness which happens to be the values ​​of the Gospel,” Ms. Constantin adds.

The values include “welcoming, sharing, respect for others who are different from oneself, mutual aid, solidarity, service, and fraternal support,” the official of Port Louis Diocese says.


Mauritius has confirmed at least 1,204 COVID-19 cases, 987 recoveries, and 15 deaths.

“Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, the aim of the CDT has been to increase the number of meeting opportunities, so that people affected by this pandemic do not remain alone, that they do not fill up on themselves,” Ms. Constantin says in the report published on the website of Port Louis Diocese.

The meeting opportunities also help the tourism workers to “meet other people that they can share their sufferings and their dreams and that they find within themselves the resources to bounce back,” she adds.

Since the pandemic hit the country located about 1,930 kilometers off the coast of Africa in March 2020, thereby disrupting the tourism industry, the CDT official says that her office has organized training targeting workers in the sector.

From May to June 2020, officials of the Commission offered a six-week virtual course titled, “Getting out of fear to move towards solidarity.” The course sought to help workers in the tourism sector to better cope with the crisis occasioned by the pandemic.

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Later, the leadership of the 33-year-old Commission committed to supporting and bringing together the various players in the tourism industry in Mauritius facilitated “The Miracle of Gratitude'' course to 20 tourism workers.

Another training program, which CDT has organized is “Hope is a Strategy.” The program targeted tourism employees who had lost their jobs and were preparing to start life afresh, the Mauritian national says in the April 21 report titled “The CDT: today more than ever, listen, support and encourage Mauritians.”

As a follow up of the “Hope is a Strategy” course that was offered in August 2020 in partnership with the Cardinal-Jean-Margéot Institute (ICJM), CDT officials have, since last year, been offering “On the road to food self-sufficiency” training.

According to the leadership of the Diocesan Commission, the follow-up course seeks to “encourage these families who live thanks to the tourism sector and who currently have difficulties to make ends meet to return to the land and domestic breeding, with the aim of self-sufficiency on certain vegetables and proteins on the medium/long term.”

Officials of the Diocesan Commission have also been organizing spiritual tours for the workers in the tourism sector, offering them “a day of visiting and discovering our historical and religious heritage.”


The spiritual tours around the country known for beaches, reefs, coastal lagoons, and mountainous interior such as Black River Gorges National Park are “an opportunity for everyone, young and old, to recharge their batteries, to discover their country in prayer, to live a new experience of exchange and fraternal sharing to strengthen and deepen their faith,” Ms. Constantin recounts.

“Through these training sessions, meetings, and discussions with these tourism employees, we can only see the good it does people to be able to speak truthfully and in complete freedom! The sharing group is a place of growth,” the CDT official says of the impact of the interactions.

She adds, “Sharing edifies and encourages those who share and those who listen. The sharing of someone can resonate with another, allowing him to project himself by thinking that he can act in the same way and progress in his relationship with God, with others, in faith, trust, the life of prayer.”

From the training and tours, Ms. Constantin says that the CDT officials have had “the chance to be happy witnesses of certain people who were able to bounce back. Some have found, through these encounters, the strength and courage to embark on a new field.”

She continues, “Others have felt encouraged to market their own creations in various fields (decorations, sewing, jams); still others have come together to set up different types of business (catering, maintaining a house). Still others returned to the earth and took a liking.”

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“We are only instruments in the hands of God and we try to do His will without knowing what will be the fruits of our labor, but in view of what emerges from there, we are confident that we are on the right track!” Ms. Constantin says in the April 21 report.