Air Mauritius said on Friday it will increase seat capacity by 6.3 percent, in line with a government goal to attract more tourists from emerging economies.

Mauritius is a popular holiday destination, famed for its azure seas, white beaches and luxury spas. But the European economic slowdown has weighed heavily on tourism and the government is keen to develop Asian markets.

For the first time ever, Air Mauritius will be offering 1,850,000 seats on its network worldwide -- a 6.3 percent increase over last year, the company said. The increase applies for the period April 2011 to March next year.

Air Mauritius said on Wednesday that it would start direct flights to China from July, a move that helped boost its share price.

Tourism typically generates about 10 percent of Mauritius's gross domestic product with European visitors accounting for some two-thirds of arrivals.

The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority unveiled its strategy on Wednesday and said it expected an increase of 7.1 percent in tourist arrivals this year.