The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is small enough to feel intimate but large enough to provide activities for all ages. Its natural beauty is legendary – famous author Mark Twain mused that heaven was probably modelled on Mauritius – with a green and mountainous interior, 200 miles of golden beaches encircled by exquisite blue seas and a thriving high-end tourism and honeymoon industry.
Mauritius is also an industrious island boasting a stable export-based economy and a business-minded government. It has a happily multi-cultural vibe. Drive around the island and you see colour blasted Hindu temples next to mosques and Christian churches. English and French are both widely spoken along with Creole and the island’s location between Asia and Africa means it is well placed for visitors from many countries.
As former sugar cane fields are put to good alternate uses Mauritius has carved out a name for itself as a favourite with golfers with twelve good golf courses on the island’s 720 square miles. There is also horse riding, mountain biking, trekking and of course a full range of watersports.
Foreigners have been able to buy a property on Mauritius since 2002 when the government introduced the Integrated Resort Scheme (IRS). To qualify buyers have to spend at least $500,000 on homes on approved five-star resorts. In return they can claim residency and benefit from low levels of taxation. An extension in 2007 includes smaller developments with no minimum purchase price although owners on these Real Estate Schemes (RES) do not automatically qualify for residency.
Over 16 qualifying resorts have been set up, spread around the island from the tourist bright lights of Grand Baie in the north to the beautiful beaches in the far quieter and sometimes windy southeast.