Indian Ocean Cruises from Foresight Smart Ventures, the flagship company of the $500 million London based Foresight Shipping Group has entered into a strategic partnership with Europe’s second largest travel firm Thomas Cook Group plc.

Thomas Cook, a major player in the world’s most active markets for holidays and other leisure travel services will play a key role in marketing of Indian Ocean Cruises destinations of Reunion, Rodrigues and Madagascar from Pristine islands through its agents across Mauritius, India and Europe.

Announcing this association with Thomas Cook, Mr. Sanjeev Goswami, Joint Managing Director of Foresight Smart Ventures said, “Our partnership with Thomas Cook is one step forward in branding Mauritius as an exciting cruise and vacation destination. We are glad that the launch of heritage cruise liner ‘MS Ocean Odyssey’ in January 2009 will bind the islands of Indian Ocean on the theme of their historical evolution”.

Mr Goswami added, “We have invested over US$30 million to develop our Cruise offering in the Indian Ocean and we have aggressive plans for next 5 years to establish world class cruises in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius, the “star and the key of the Indian Ocean” will now become the starting point of this wonderful journey adding value to the customer offerings”.

Indian Ocean Cruises had very recently entered into a partnership with Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority in November 2008.

Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said “It is so exciting to have the opportunity to partner with Foresight Smart Ventures and leverage our Brands from the Cruise Division. It has always been our prime focus to want to provide our customers the best in quality and value in travel both in India and abroad. In the current scenario it becomes imperative that we channelize our resources in bringing the best to the table and I am proud to promote Mauritius as the destination through this alliance with Indian Ocean Cruises.

Nalini Gupta, President and Head Marketing Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “Mauritius is a paradise for those who want to enjoy the sea or just soak up the sun and relax, and the ideal destination for honeymooners, family holidays and golfers. Mauritius is not just white beaches has a splendid hinterland and offers a blend of diverse cultures, traditions, cuisine and events. Indian Ocean Cruises would now put world tourist map towards Mauritius.

A range of itineraries, all based from Port Louis will be offered, focused on exciting journey in the pristine waters of Indian Ocean to Réunion, Rodrigues, and Madagascar. The cruise booking is open now and packages include both onward and return flight tickets and cruise liner ticket.

The heritage cruise liner “MS Ocean Odyssey” with maximum of 200 passengers on board will offer a highly personalized service and ultimate comfort at affordable prices, and will help discover the new facets of the Indian Ocean.

On-board facilities include a four-star restaurant offering a range of local and international cuisine, observation lounge and bar, coffee bar, gymnasium and fitness centre, sauna and spa, sun-deck, casino, library and medical clinic, along with a wide variety of international entertainment.

Arrivals from the Asian market to Mauritius increased by 10.1% to attain 56,064 this year, with India, the major generating country of the continent, registering a growth of 7.7%. Mauritius is now projected to receive some two million tourists by 2015. To assert this projection, the Indian Ocean Cruises would play a very vital role.