Although development policies in general, and tourism development in particular, have long been implicitly concerned with meeting the needs of the poor, poverty reduction has become a more explicit objective of development over the last decade. That is, not only has poverty reduction become a global development goal but also increasing attention has been paid to so-called pro-poor tourism as a specific means of addressing poverty. Nevertheless, surprisingly limited academic attention has been paid to the topic. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to address this gap in the literature. Reviewing the meaning of poverty and the concept of pro-poor tourism, it explores a number of initiatives in Mauritius that seek to enhance tourism's contribution to alleviating poverty and other social needs, focusing in particular on the recent Integrated Resort Scheme. In so doing, it identifies a number of issues and challenges facing pro-poor tourism initiatives both in Mauritius and more generally, and concludes that although tourism may bring shorter-term economic benefits to the poor, by itself it is unlikely to make a longer-term, sustainable contribution to poverty reduction.