Irish travel agents are boycotting trade with Mauritius – as a newspaper there tried to defend its decision to publish photographs of murder victim Michaela McAreavey, taken minutes after her death.
There has been widespread revulsion in Ireland after hotel workers Avinash Treebhoowoon, 32, and Sandip Moneea, 43, were cleared last week of Michaela’s murder.
Anger grew when the Mauritian Sunday Times ran a photograph of Michaela’s lifeless body on its front page with another 11 pictures inside.
Over 5,500 people have already signed a Facebook campaign page after European Parliament member Sean Kelly called on Irish tourists to boycott Mauritius until such time as Michaela’s killers are brought to justice.
Now Irish travel agents have answered his call with Donegal businesswoman Carolyn Davis, adamant that her Liberty Travel company in Letterkenny will not sell holidays to the destination.
Davis told the Irish Sun newspaper, “This is not a publicity stunt. We had a meeting in the office and the girls agreed we would not have the stomach to sell Mauritius.
“When you are selling a honeymoon you have to believe in the product and their security is paramount.
“I have been particularly appalled at the treatment of Michaela’s husband John McAreavey, 31, by island authorities in the aftermath of the murder.
“We just don’t have the stomach to sell it as a destination. There are very big questions that will have to be answered by the police out there.
“I am inundated with calls congratulating us about this. Everybody is horrified by what happened and my staff is 100 per cent behind me as well. We just felt so sorry for Michaela’s dad Mickey Harte and his family.
“I would urge other members of the travel trade to think about it.”
Industry leader Pat Dawson from the Irish Travel Agents Association said agents are meeting the same reaction all across Ireland.
He said, “The murder and photo scandal is personal to the Irish people.
“We’re a small country, we’re all family. The individual travel agents themselves don’t have enthusiasm for selling Mauritius now and I couldn’t see them for years getting enthusiastic about it.
“It would be very hard to talk up Mauritius now to somebody going on their honeymoon. It’s going to be years and years before there is a recovery. I think about 3,000 people used to go there from Ireland before this happened but now it would be in the hundreds.”