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Whether it is tourism or investment flows, India holds an important place in the heart of the island economy.

Accordingly, in an attempt to increase awareness about Mauritius in the Indian travel agent circuit, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) has come up with a slew of promotional activities that seek to advertise the exotic Indian Ocean island destination within India itself.

As part of this promotion, various seminars were held in different parts of India, namely Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and the last one was held recently, on Friday, September 26, 2014, in Delhi.

Besides Air Mauritius, hospitality majors such as Starwood, Sun Resorts, and Constance Resorts used the seminar as a golden platform to highlight their service proposition and their array of properties.

Sanjay Sondhi, CEO of Om Tourism, said that they expect about 60,000 Indians to travel to Mauritius this year, up from the 56,000 in 2013.

Virat Raj Bhalla, Managing Director of Orange Tourism Solutions, for his part said that the response of the India market to the 60-room boutique hotel, La Palmeraie, was good.

As tourism gathers steam on one hand, on the other hand, Mauritius is looking to attract more Indian investments across diverse sectors, including education and deep sea mining segments, as it pitches itself as the gateway to Africa.

The island nation provides “liberalised investment procedures and ease of doing business” under which film shooting is being highlighted as another area that offers benefits to Indian entities, according to Mauritian government officials.

Vish Mungur, Counsellor of Mauritius Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the Press Trust of India that they want a larger number of companies from India to set up operations in Mauritius.

“We want companies from India to play a greater role in the development of the Mauritian economy,” he stressed.

Describing Mauritius as a land of opportunities for Indian companies, Mungur outlined that it also provides opportunities for Indian investors to expand their businesses into other African nations.

Furthermore, positioning itself as a ‘tax-free gateway to Africa’, Mauritius also provides tax incentives to companies that set up operations in the island economy.

Mungur also noted that Indian firms can make investments in various sectors, including manufacturing, space, education, pharmaceuticals, software, real estate, deep sea mining and ocean economy.

“Mauritius provides liberalised investment procedures and ease of doing business in the island nation,” said Shamima Mallam Hassam, Senior Director at Board of Investment (BOI), the premier investment promotion agency of Mauritius.

“For the film industry, we grant a 30 percent refund on all the expenditure made in Mauritius and the move is helping us as in the last year and a half, we have received 12 projects from Bollywood,” she noted.

According to her, taxes have been capped at 15 percent for corporates as well as for individuals.
Indian Oil Corp (IOC), State Bank of India (SBI), Life Insurance Corp (LIC), New India Assurance Company, Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd (TCIL), Infosys and the Oberoi Group, are among the many Indian corporates having presence in Mauritius.

With regard to Indian firms looking to invest in other parts of Africa through Mauritius, Hassam said that “in terms of our free port (a kind of tax-free economic zone) being used as a base for onward shipping to Africa, there are opportunities for India.”

“Also, for manufacturing activities for export to Africa, we are offering zero percent income tax if the companies operate in our free port,” she concluded.

Source: Press Trust of India

Image (Still from Ek Villain, shot in Mauritius, from IBN Live): For the film industry, Mauritius grants a 30 percent refund on all the expenditure incurred in Mauritius and the island has received 12 Bollywood projects in the last year and a half

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