Over 350 VIP guests have attended the opening party of the Outrigger Mauritius Resort and Spa in the Indian Ocean.
Guest of honor, the Mauritius Minister for Tourism, Michael Sik Yuen, welcomed Outrigger and wished them well on the island.
Outrigger senior executives and the company’s founding family members flew in from Hawaii for the occasion and other guests attended from Australia, China, South Africa, France and UK.
The official opening party followed a nine-month multi-million dollar transformational renovation of the property, which is owned by Outrigger.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Outrigger cultural ambassador Kaipo Ho, in traditional Hawaiian costume, delivered four Hawaiian chants and blessings to show gratitude to the Mauritian hosts and the inclusion of Mauritius into the Outrigger ohana – family. He presented a Hawaiian koa wood canoe paddle to General Manager Frederic Chretien. The paddle symbolizes partnership between ocean islands, strength, unity of purpose, and the start of a journey together.
Outrigger President and CEO David Carey presented a hand-crafted koa wood ornamental box to the Minister on stage.
On a special night characterized by chic mix of Mauritian, Hawaiian and international sensations, Outrigger family members played a key role in the celebrations, including Dr. Charles R. Kelley, Chairman of the Board of Outrigger Enterprises Group and Bitsy Kelley, Outrigger VP Corporate Communication. Darren Edmonstone, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific joined the presentations on stage.
The deluxe 181-room, all sea-view resort is the first for Outrigger in the Indian Ocean and the company’s 46th property now open or under development in eight countries.
The party on the beachfront of the hotel featured acrobats, dancers, live music, mime artists, a sumptuous variety of cuisines, a spectacular firework display over the sea, and guests dancing barefoot on the beach.
The Tourism Minister told the audience: “I’m very proud to see Outrigger Mauritius Resort and Spa joining the league of the best hotels in Mauritius. There is no doubt that Outrigger will bring a new dimension to the tourism industry here.”
He told the audience that Mauritius was a multi-award winning destination, especially in the honeymoon and romance sectors.
“We hope to see Outrigger Mauritius winning many new awards in the near future,” he said.
Dr Charles R. Kelley welcomed guests and gave a brief overview of Outrigger hotel history, starting with the arrival of his grandparents in Hawaii in 1929. Now in 2014 the family-run business, still headquartered in Hawaii, owns or manages dozens of properties across four continents. “The third generation has expanded the business. Today, everywhere we go we supply genuine, authentic hospitality with a local culture experience,” said Dr Kelley.
David Carey, Outrigger CEO, told the guests: “Outrigger is excited to be in Mauritius. We believe we can bring a special brand of hospitality where the culture, the employees and the place are valued and translate into a special experience for guests.”
CEO Carey said that the spiritual and emotive island links between Hawaii, Outrigger and Mauritius were palpable.
The Tourism Minister noted that tourism supplies 7.1% of Mauritian GDP and employs 15% of the labor force. In 2013, almost one million international visitor arrivals created US$1.3 billion for the Mauritian economy.