Mauritius considering tax and duty-free status for tourists


(eTN) – In an effort to regain momentum in the global tourism markets, thoughts are being floated among the Mauritius tourism and trading community to turn the entire island into one giant “tax and duty-free shop.” Here, tourists would be able to enjoy shopping for electronics, cosmetics, shoes, accessories, clothes, and actually all and sundry, and upon exit from Mauritius, get their sales taxes (VAT) back at the airport against production of receipts.

Sources from the island are intimating that as much of the imports are already duty free, with remaining duties to be removed progressively, Mauritius could be turned in to a shopping paradise a la Dubai in order to attract much-needed tourist visitors. A prerequisite, though, would be a sharp increase in air connections to the island, likely at the expense of protectionist policies vis-a-vis the national airline, Air Mauritius, and the upturn in investments in more resorts and, of course, dedicated shopping facilities, similar to the mega malls in the UAE, which in recent years accounted for much of the visitor increases to Dubai and the neighboring Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ajman.

For now, the ideas are just being discussed as a possibility, but competitors of Mauritius would do well to monitor the trend and outcome of such strategic forward thinking and be prepared to match, whatever the outcome will finally be.