Latest conditions for non-citizens when investing in guesthouses or tourist residences in Mauritius.
A new government policy for investment in an existing guest house/tourist residence by a non‐citizen has just been released on the 25th September 2019. Such investment may now only be authorized on a case‐to‐case basis and only if the existing establishment is upgraded and the new project proposal meets the policy objectives of the Ministry of Tourism & Leisure and complies with very specific requisites as listed below by the same Ministry.
The term “New Guesthouse / Tourist Residence” means a project proposal for the construction of new guesthouse/tourist residence or conversion of an existing building into guesthouse/tourist residence
The Term “Existing Guesthouse / Tourist Residence” means a guesthouse/tourist residence holder of a valid Tourist Accommodation Certificate from the Tourism Authority
The acquisition of an immovable property by a non-citizen is governed by the provisions of the Non-citizens (Property Restriction) Act.
Pursuant to section 3(3)(c)(iv) of the Act, a non-citizen who intends to acquire an immovable property for business purpose, including a guesthouse or tourist residence, requires an authorisation from the Economic Development Board (EDB) prior to signing the deed witnessing the transfer of the immovable property. An application has therefore to be submitted as per guidelines published by the EDB.
The EDB will be the 1st point of contact for investors regarding:
1. the acquisition of an immovable property;
2. the lease of an immovable property; and
3. the acquisition of shares in a company that holds an immovable property.
For investors wishing to acquire shares within a company that does not hold any immovable property, the minimum investment shall be at least Rs 10m.
On receipt of an application, the EDB shall consult the Ministry of Tourism and any other relevant organisations. The recommendations of the EDB together with the views of the Ministry of Tourism shall be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for determination of the application. Upon receipt of approval from the Prime Minister’s Office, the EDB shall issue an authorisation to the applicant to acquire a guesthouse or tourist residence and inform the Ministry of Tourism accordingly.
Investors are required to submit their application to the EDB as per the following link: http://www.edbmauritius.org/media/1860/application-form-acquistion-for-business-purposes.pdf
The ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA are listed below :
A non-citizen cannot submit an application to acquire or lease a guesthouse or tourist residence unless:
a. the non-citizen is a company incorporated under the Companies Act 2001
b. the non-citizen holds a letter of no objection in respect of the project proposal from the Ministry of Tourism
c. the minimum investment, excluding land cost, in the acquisition or lease of an existing guesthouse or tourist residence, shall be at least Rs 10 million
d. the minimum investment, excluding land cost, of developing a new guesthouse or tourist residence shall be at least Rs 30 million.
Regarding the concept and the design of the guesthouse or tourist residence, the Ministry further adds:
Amenities and facilities of the guesthouse/tourist residence must be in compliance with the guidelines of the Tourism Authority for Guesthouse and Tourist Residence and target the high-end market segment.
The guesthouse/tourist residence shall boast a unique and exquisite charm, comfort and atmosphere. The project proposal must be of a high architectural design depicting the local tropical cachet. Artistic impressions or 3-D sketches describing the design character of the proposed development must be approved by the Ministry of Tourism.
Regarding the Management, it must be tied up with the investment.
However, in case the investor has no managerial expertise, a local Manager shall be appointed and in case the investor will also act as the manager, he must show a track record in management and show evidence of previous managerial positions held in similar establishments abroad for at least 5 years.
All employees, except for the owner/Manager, should be locals.
The guesthouse/tourist residence must comply with the Safety and Security measures as provided for by the Tourism Authority and be equipped with safety and security devices installed by an approved security company.