PORT LOUIS, Jan 9 (Reuters) - The number of tourists visiting Mauritius rose 5 percent in 2017 driven by more arrivals from Europe, official data showed on Tuesday.
Tourism is an important component of the Mauritian economy and a key source of hard currency for the Indian Ocean island state, best known for its luxury spas and beaches.
Statistics Mauritius said in a statement that arrivals rose to 1.34 million last year from 1.28 million in 2016. Numbers from Europe, which accounts for two third of visitors, climbed 6 percent to 780,209.
The central bank said in November it expected tourism earnings to be around 61.6 billion rupees ($1.85 billion) this year.
Statistics Mauritius also said in November tourist arrivals for 2018 were projected at 1.43 million. ($1 = 33.3000 Mauritius rupees) (Reporting by Jean Paul Arouff,; Editing by George Obulutsa and Ed Osmond)