How to heal your back pain and avoid investing in an expensive office chair


Back pain, is affecting more and more people these days. Long ago we use to run, hunt and plant or sit on a throne and die of gluttony and these days we bow in front of the computer while we have to force ourselves to move or even pay to practice sports.

If you are suffering from back pain, please read my story, maybe my life hack might help you reduce your back pain. And if you are just curious, my suggestion might help you avoid getting back pains. I had back pain for over two years and I couldn’t exactly tell what was causing it. I was doing sports regularly, going swimming, doing walks, cycling, basket ball, etc. Yet I had back pain and it didn’t want to go away. So I was starting to accuse my bike, my bed mattress, or my shoes… Since I couldn’t figure out what was causing it, I decided to go to a chiropractor in Grand Baie.

He made me do an x-ray and analysed it and said my back isn’t straight. I then read somewhere that they all tend to say that. Then he said I had some anomalies regarding the bone sizes in my spine, some bones seemed underdeveloped and I needed to strengthen my back with muscles to compensate for the difference. But all these years before I didn’t have back pain!?
He then scheduled with me several meetings where he cracked my bones, and put me in a sort of machine which was supposed to fix the issue. Also applied techniques of coldness. Fast forward into the future, after some months, my issue was still present so I decided to just live with it for a while until someone recommended me another practitioner in Mont Choisy.

I went to see her and she showed me a series of exercises I could do. No cracking and all that sorts. She also recommended swimming on my back. So I started doing all those exercises for several months and swimming on my back a lot. I felt no progression at all. I also followed the advise of raising all my computer screens to a height where I do not have to move my head down or up but watch on it centred.

The Best Chair against Back Pain in Mauritius!
The Best Chair against Back Pain in Mauritius!
Continue Reading

E-Business Manager recruitment pitfalls Hotels in Mauritius should avoid


Recently I came across a job advert that made a short list of requirements and a long list of duties for a person to practice the job of an E Business manager for a renown resort group in Mauritius. It included the terms such as SEO, Social Media, analyse Data, manage booking channels and not least to mention aggregate them with prices… Seriously! SEO?

Looking at the list I had to frown as I was reminded of past experience back in Hamburg when I worked for a media agency that hired me for SEO and later on requested me to also manage their online shop till the point of uploading all their products and writing each products description… I was overloaded to the point that I cracked and had to have a serious discussion with my bosses that I couldn’t continue with such a work load.

Hotels in Mauritius fail to understand that for certain types of jobs, various requirements that you place upon the applicant doesn’t reflect reality or just doesn’t make sense. In theory it does, but in shear reality, a human has limited capacities.
The advert in itself, if all these duties are to be practised in real life time scenarios, is prone to drain the employee if he or she gets employed and is new to this sector without any idea what is waiting ahead to negotiate with you for a better work environment. I would rather say victim to burn out. Both parties will end with deception and bad results. This fact, as hard as it sounds, needs to be raised so that Hotels in Mauritius can review their job positions in this arena. What both of you want to achieve is success for the company and the employee. You do not want to destroy your employee neither your e-marketing strategy. You will also want that person to stay long term once this person is running a successful campaign that leads to an increase in revenue. You need to strive to keep your best assets! Do things right so that you have highly motivated personnel working for you that will bring you long term results.

Let’s talk about SEO for a moment. Especially if you are a HR recruiter for a resort. You need to discern that various duties that are laid out for an E Business Manager often are several jobs of their own and cannot be compressed into just one person. Except if you want that person to oversea various persons practising these duties or collaborate with agencies and has a profound knowledge and understanding of each of these components. Thus more prone to also grasp the limitations of how much one person can handle and better manage a team while acting as a manager and coach.

Photo reference: By Abundioteca (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo reference: By Abundioteca (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Continue Reading

Bringing my car to the examination centre in Port-Louis (fitness)


Last week was the sixth time I was at car fitness in Port-Louis and it was chaotic at a time where it usually is more smooth. That is 13:30. The new premises still haven’t opened and I wonder when… There is less parking space, and the number of cars required to go the fitness centre is increasing every year.

Bringing your car to the examination centre in Port-Louis (fitness) for getting it checked is something which will not particularly fall on the things I like doing in my todos list. I am sure no one likes to go there. I believe the reason we all hate going there is the waiting time associated with it and the chaotic ways you have to go through with your car in a mess of other cars until you are through. You have to park your cars two times, and if you hate that, welcome to stress. I find it worse than a traffic jam the moment at the examination centre.
Even a day before going there, it’s like a nightmare! And when you are done with it, belle soulagement!

My article is not necessarily a step by step guide on how to get your car fitness done the most efficient way. I will share with you my story and you are welcome to share yours at the comments section at the end of this article. I will also add some useful links at the bottom.

It does say in the motor examination fees that you can have your vehicle examined at your house! I have never taken notion of this option and I wonder if you have tried it yet!? “Examination of any type of vehicle at owner’s premises
Rs. 600”. When I bring my car it costs Rs.400. I bring along my horse power (document) and my insurance certificate.

The first time I had to go to the car fitness centre, I went very early, around 7am I was there. So I was first in the queue. But guess what, it means you wait really long! Total time it took to be through was 3.5 hours! I think they open at 9am and they close at 15:00.
If you go early you will definitely wait a lot and the queue is huge!

Continue Reading


Mauritians should consume more of Mighty Rice grown and Made in Mauritius


Made in Moris

I have been eating rice since my childhood and Mighty Rice is the best rice I have ever had! It tastes so good and if you check its specifications its one of the healthiest! This product needs our support as local consumers and at least a pack should land into your trolley when you leave the supermarket. Taste it and let me know how you liked it in the comments section below.

Mighty Rice is grown in Mauritius. It is not grown in ponds or shallow lakes of water like how you can see it being done commonly in Madagascar. Its grown from seeds just like normal plants. I will not go too much into details about the specifications of this rice as you can read most of it on the mighty rice website.

The reason why you should be concerned about rice in Mauritius, is because the island imports around 76 000 tonnes per year. Mauritius has made itself dependent on this import. YET if Mauritians were to change their eating habits, they would be able to survive from local produce alone. Mauritius can produce a lot of potatoes variants and you can easily grow some manioc, sweet potatoes and other variants in your own backyard. This is just some “food” for thought. If rice can be grown in Mauritius, it would be great to see that import figure go down a bit. Obviously for having varieties of choice as a consumer the importation is most likely here to stay.

Mighty Rice from Mauritius

Mighty Rice from Mauritius

Having a look at the figures
I buy a packet of mighty rice at Super U and it costs me Rs.80 for 500g.
For a bag of 5Kg Basmati Rice I usually pay around Rs.250. There is a lot of choice and a lot of price variations. Cheaper and more expensive. Over the years I just sticked to one brand.

So if you make the comparison for 500g it will cost me around Rs.25 for an imported rice while a local produce will cost me Rs.80. So it’s Rs.55 more.

Is it worth it to pay more?
I say yes. Quality has its price, and you should care for what you put into your stomach. Don’t treat it like a cemetery.
Continue Reading


Withdrawing money from PayPal to your Visa credit card in Mauritius


Recently PayPal has approved the function of receiving money in Mauritius. To be precise since the 13.04.15 PayPal accounts in Mauritius can now receive payments and withdraw funds. This was previously not available for Mauritius. The only function you could use was to make payments via your credit card through PayPal.

In this article I will share with you the details of my communication with PayPal and a local bank and this will make it clearer how you can withdraw the money that someone sends you on PayPal (for example in using your email address) or what options you can choose and what you require to make it work. I will however not go into details how to request someone to send you money as this is quite straightforward in the user area of PayPal once you are logged in.

I’m especially writing this article because if you have a certain habit of how things work with your bank, credit card and PayPal your logic of seeing the steps might be used to a different thought structure, well am speaking of my case here. I just couldn’t get it or it just seemed vague or unclear what is actually meant by withdrawing your money on Paypal. When you do it, what happens!?

Some of my novice questions were also posted in the Mauritius Facebook Blogger group, and while some of my content will appear to be shear simple logic of how it should work and one might wonder – gee doesn’t Dietmar get it… There is no stupid question 🙂

Here you go:
You need a Visa card. It will currently not work with a Master card. And my local bank said a visa debit card cannot be used. (If a visa debit card did work for you, please share infos in the comments section).

When someone sends you money on PayPal, where does it go to?
Once you received payments, it will be posted to your PayPal balance. You have an option to use your PayPal balance for sending payments online or you can also transfer it to a US Bank account (not a US$ Bank account in Mauritius) or to a Visa card that is eligible for withdrawals.

When I receive money on PayPal, does it go directly on my credit cards account (not current account associated with it)?
When someone would send money to you, money will be available first in your PayPal account and not your Visa card. From there you can have the money withdrawn to the bank you prefer (only a bank account in USA) or the visa card. It comes with additional fees, mentioned below.

You will be able to withdraw funds to the Visa card and retrieve the money through an ATM or to your bank depending on the features provided by your bank.

Can I withdraw directly from PayPal to my local bank account in Mauritius?
No.
You cannot add a Mauritius bank account, since local bank accounts are not applicable in your PayPal account. You can only use a Visa card or a US bank account registered with a US address.

Withdrawing to a US bank account would not incur any withdrawal fees it is only when you use your Visa card that you will be charged for a withdrawal fee thus is determined by the card issuer.

If you withdraw money to your visa card, how much fees will it cost?
When it comes to withdrawal fee process associated to Visa Card is $5.00 USD. This fee is applied for every withdrawal with Visa since PayPal is also using their service or feature in withdrawal to card. (Please note that you will also incur charges when you receive money, I will show you an example at the bottom)

Paypal Fees for Withdrawing money to a visa credit card in Mauritius

Paypal Fees for Withdrawing money to a visa credit card in Mauritius

When I withdraw money from PayPal to my Visa credit card, will the money be directly credited to my current account?
No.
It will be on your visa card account, your credit card is an account of its own as well.

Once I have withdrawn money from Paypal to my Visa credit card, how can I retrieve it and what charges will I incur? Can I also transfer it to my current account? (Feedback from MCB)
All withdrawal from a credit card to another account will be considered as cash withdrawal, this can be done on any ATM or depending on the sum, inside the bank. Then the 2% charge will be applied.

You can pay through merchants (retailers) without any charge, as they will pay for the charge.

If someone sends me $110 how much will I effectively have left less PayPal charges and withdrawal charges?
You need to keep in mind that receiving money on PayPal is not for free. They have their charges. The moment someone sends you money, you pay a charge. Then when you withdraw the money on your visa credit card you have another charge. And of course when you withdraw the money from your credit card at an ATM or transfer it to your bank account, you have again some charges (but not to PayPal).

To begin with, any payment (goods or services) received, there is a receiving fee of 3.40% + $0.30 USD (local) and 3.90% + $0.30 USD (international) regardless of the amount you received.

In your example, if you receive $110.00 USD, a fee of $4.04 USD (local) will be assessed and will be deducted from the amount you received. For international, a fee of $4.59 USD will be assessed.

If in case that your withdrawal did not go through (usually if the card issuer refused the funds), a return fee of $10.00 USD will be assessed.

So in Mauritius it will be:
The moment someone sends you $110
$110 less (3.90% = $4.29 + 0.30 = $4.59) = $105.41

Then when you withdraw to your credit card:
$105.41 less $5 = $100.41 goes to your credit card

And then if you retrieve it at an ATM or transfer it your local bank account
100.41 less (2% = 2.01) = $98.40 is what you will have left of the $110 payment you received initially.

We can sum up that this is the amount you pay in total as charges:
PayPal fees $4.59 + PayPal Withdrawal fee $5 + And if you want to retrieve the money from your credit card at an ATM or local bank account $2.01 = $11.60


Other reading material:
Please also read the forum posts in Clever Dodo: Paypal Mauritius can now receive money 🙂

What has your experience been so far in withdrawing money from Paypal in Mauritius? Can you share with us your experience?


The quest to make a good cup of coffee in Mauritius from local and import beans


Lately I have been trying to make my own good cup of coffee from grinding my own beans and getting the dosages right in using various techniques from the French Press to the Bialetti / Moka Italian coffee maker. I started as a coffee drinker with the soluble brands such as Ricoffy and other Nestlé brands which I still find good and does simplify the procedures if you just want a cup of coffee without all the hassles. If you want it strong you just take a few more spoons.

Finding the right coffee to your liking can be as difficult as figuring out a good wine or any other delicacies. With all my recent coffee experiments I’m yet not really satisfied after several months. In discussion with some other coffee drinkers, many have told me, that they are as well on the constant quest of the best coffee experience! Even after years!

I still do believe Ricoffy is one of the best options even if it is just a soluble chicory. By “just” I do not claim that it’s inferior. I have often come to similar tasting experiences that a cup of ricoffy simply tasted very similar of the coffee I had in the French Press and through the paper filter. That’s where I come to the point where I wonder, why all the effort to get the same taste? Why not switch back to Ricoffy?

I do not own a coffee machine like the Nespresso which probably will take the coffee making to a new experience but I somehow do not fancy buying those capsules. And am not really looking for Espressos.

So far I have only tried 2 local coffee brands from Mauritius. And the roasted beans you use play a major role on the end result as well.

How do you like your coffee in Mauritius?

Which brands do you use and where do you buy them?

How do you make your coffee in order to get the best coffee experience & taste? 

This is the French Press. You can get them at Super U. I have tried to make a good cup of coffee with that in using both the Chamarel and La Fournaise roasted beans. I tried all sorts of dosages and I have not come to a satisfying result. I have given up on the French Press. I now use it to just as a water measuring gauge. Also, you need a coffee grinder than can deliver you a more coarse grind, not fine grind.
Making a good cup of coffee in Mauritius - 01

My coffee making arsenal.
Making a good cup of coffee in Mauritius - 02

Continue Reading


HOW TO USE PODIO and where do I input TASKS?


In Podio you can post and assign tasks to different people from anywhere, within a workspace, or project by simply pressing T.

1. Workspaces are on your left where you can set up departments and project sections
2. Within a workspace you have apps which will show on your right
3. In apps you have projects
4. In projects you can add tasks

When you create a task from anywhere that you are located in PODIO:
1. You can add it to a workspace
2. You can add it to an APP (you will need to know its name though! > at the loupe section you can type it in or see selections that it will suggest)
3. You can add it to a project or entry within an APP (here as well you need to know where you want to place your task)

You can also create labels for sorting purposes.

Else you can also click around, go to workspace > select app > select project and enter task instead of using the T function.

It’s always best to put the tasks to where they are most related to for the sake of remaining well organised.
For example if you want to delegate a task to a colleague for a certain project, find the related workspace > app > project. It also depends how you have structured your workspaces.001-Screenshot-Dashboard-TasksEach workspace also has a Dashboard. You can also have a section there that shows tasks that have been added to the workspace and when you click on the title of that box you can then have an overview of all tasks of this workspace and its apps.

002-Screenshot-Tasks within a workspaceYou also have your own section at the top navi with the tick symbol ✔ called Tasks. In this section you will get all your tasks listed which you can sort with various filters.

003-Screenshot-My Tasks sectionIf you want to know who is working on what in your team, I would add for each workspace in the dashboard section a tasks box so that you can access with one click all tasks that are part of that particular workspace and get an overview who is doing what.

Workspaces > All Tasks > My Tasks

It took me quite a while to grasp this so I’ll mention it again: the tasks shown in each workspace when you click on all tasks will only show for that workspace and not all other workspaces. I would have liked Podio to have a function where you can have a global overview of ALL tasks in ALL workspaces.

Continue Reading


From Do to Podio a bit of Wrike, team acceptance was difficult of Podio tasks and project manager


podiowrike
As you grow from a one person company into a small team of 5 colleagues you will soon notice that it gets challenging to keep track of tasks, projects and who is working on what and how is progress. It took me months of research to find a tool appropriate in handling tasks. The first tool I used was Chandler which wasn’t in development any more and didn’t prove ideal for team work. Then I finally found Do. Do was very easy to grasp. You can make sections and input tasks. Delegate them, leave comments and click on done when you are done. Team acceptance of this tool was all right even though it required an adaptation period of around 2 weeks, moving from Chandler to Do. Of all tools we used so far Do proved to be the best due to its simplicity when it comes to team adoption.

Then Do, a program by salesforce was shut down!
We then found Podio which my colleague who was responsible for improving intern processes of the company adored. He is a number and algorithm person, he fell in love with Podio. So we took Podio!
Podio is free for upto 5 users and gives you access to ALL functions. They do not switch off functions so that you feel forced to pay so that you can work. I like their approach, love their blogs and videos. Seriously, they are doing an awesome job.
You can create your own applications called apps, you can make department sections, for each section you will have its own dashboard which you can adapt in so many ways to suit your needs, a home feed where you can just post like on a social media page and a possibility to chat with colleagues. There is so much you can do with Podio. My colleague that was fascinated by Podio then built various apps and we shifted all our tasks and team into Podio for our Isla-Mauricia agency. At one point we were even trying to have all our bookings processed through Podio. At Isla-Mauricia we handle bookings for holiday rentals in Mauritius.

Continue Reading


Don’t be scared to book villas in Mauritius


Fear might be one of the reasons leading you to not having a fulfilled beach villa holiday in Mauritius. While on one side you might be craving to book a private villa, on the other side the fear factor might push you to book more the conventional holiday packages. If its going to be a Mauritius holiday, then make it Special.

Let me share with you a story how a client that has become over the years a repeater how scared she was before she did indeed book a private villa, due to no more holiday packages left on that day where she wanted to go initially. She made the step to book with us a villa during the December peak season after a Google search, and has no regrets. She has now booked several times villas with my agency Isla-Mauricia, for her and her family it is simply way more easier in a villa than in a resort as they have toddlers.

Dont be scared to book villas in Mauritius

Dont be scared to book villas in Mauritius

A few days ago I visited my German client at a private villa that they booked over the peak season to drop some mangos and have a chat. After a while she mentioned that she is so happy that on the day she was planning her holiday that she couldn’t book what she usually booked and opted for Mauritius and a private villa – a holiday option she didn’t know of and is really more than satisfied to have discovered this holiday option. For her, after touring the world, Mauritius is the best place to be. This is quite a statement!

Continue Reading


Discover stereotyped Mauritius differently


Chances are that you are one of many that believe you need to win the lottery first before you can travel to Mauritius. It’s one of the most common statements I get to hear in Germany. Or the only posters you have seen when walking past by a travel agency that showcased, when it was about Mauritius, only a few luxury hotels giving one the impression that this is the only holiday option you can choose from if you want to travel to the island. Maybe you have been to a travel fair in Berlin and seen a Mauritius stand presenting the island with Sega dancer and its resorts representatives. Is that all Mauritius has to offer you?
linkedin1 - Mauritius aint just beaches

Is Mauritius only sun, beach and resorts?
While the billboards at your metro station will most likely never feature any holiday rentals that Mauritius has to offer, obviously as its to pricey, if ever you get to see a Mauritius ad, it will be most likely the one fitting with the stereotyped image of the island! …Sun, beach, resorts!
Yes, indeed it is true, Mauritius has magnificent beach locations, azure blue lagoons with top notch 5 star luxury hotels which come with very high class services and standards which often surpass many other 5 star resorts around the world.
Your travel agency catalogue will most certainly present you the islands top resorts which come at various prices, packages etc. Maybe a page where your attention will be captivated for a moment to look at these beautiful photos and dream… someday… maybe when I get rich I’ll go to Mauritius… Is Mauritius only for the rich?
linkedin2 - La Cambuse Beach in Mauritius

Continue Reading


Hotels using Social Media in Mauritius


I’ve gotten acquainted with Social Media over these last 6 years while practising online marketing for my holiday rentals agency Isla-Mauricia. I use it on a regular basis to present Mauritius and our offers and I tried a lot of approaches to increase my follower base and engagement with fans. I’ve learned along the way things that work, things that don’t work and developed a passion for this arena. One of my favourite tools remains Google+ and Twitter. Especially on Google+ the hangout sessions with professionals from whom you can learn a lot and directly chat with them is an awesome experience. I do not neglect Facebook which one cannot ignore amongst various other social media platforms which has proven itself for us to be the ideal platform in reaching out to our fans in France which would be practically impossible on Google+. Each social media platform has its specificities and what you can do on Facebook you might not similarly be able to do on Google+ nor have similar results. They all require their time for you to understand how you can use it to present your business and achieve engagement with your followers, gain new followers and new customers! And country wise follower bases also vary, in some countries a large amount of the population will use more Facebook while in others they might be using other platforms. Behold that social media differs from SEO (search engine optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and things like running an adwords campaign on Google. I will not write about SEO, SEM, and Adwords in this article.

Discovering Social Media, spending time on it, has made me realise that it is huge, it is not something where you become an expert overnight, nor one year; even if you are a heavy user. It also depends what are you doing on social media? Being an avid private user doesn’t guarantee you yet to be an excellent advocate for a company in public.
You really need to learn, study from the experts, engage with them to learn how it works. Its a never ending learning process and the moment where you think you know Social Media, you will be surprised that you might just have hit the tip of the Ice Berg!

Social Media Brandsphere by Brian Solis and JESS3

Social Media Brandsphere by Brian Solis and JESS3 | Picture source from Wikimedia & Flickr

Continue Reading


Is a greener Mauritius possible?


I just finished reading the book Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman which speaks about global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization which have produced a dangerously unstable planet–one that is “hot, flat, and crowded.” He also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets and the Great Recession. The challenge of a sustainable way of life presents the United States with an opportunity not only to rebuild its economy, but to lead the world in radically innovating toward cleaner energy. And it could inspire Americans to something they haven’t seen in a long time–nation-building in America–by summoning the intelligence, creativity, and concern for the common good that are their greatest national resources.

03.Flyer - Be An Energy Champion - Page 1 - Konn Servi lénerzi ou ki pou sorti gagnanThis book is a concern not only for USA but the world and he does also speak about China and ways they are implementing to become more greener. The book has details that go till the year 2008 and I wonder now that we are close to 2015 how things have worsened or improved. For the US I can only recall electric cars made by Tesla. Else I’m not aware of any green revolution taking place? Can you add some infos in comments at the bottom if you know of any great green projects taking place in the USA? Just yesterday I saw someone on Twitter post how happy she was to get a gallon of gas for just $1.99. Now that doesn’t go in line of a green revolution!

Continue Reading


Hotels in Mauritius now compete with Guest houses, Beach Villas and Luxury Apartments


In my previous articles I have addressed the challenges which holiday rental agencies in Mauritius are currently facing and how they can expect a deterioration in their mode of operations if they do not handle quick in reinventing themselves or cut down costs drastically!

I have mentioned previously that for most owners of beach villas and apartments that they should still be doing fine as they can use other methods of doing their own advertising than going through an agency. Even though agencies play an important role, the landlords and clients can eliminate the middleman who is the agent by buying and selling directly, which is now easily possible on the internet.

Hotels in Mauritius competing with Guest Houses

Hotels in Mauritius competing with Guest Houses

When it comes to tourism, my articles usually resolve around the theme of agencies and vacation rentals but do not address much Hotels in Mauritius. Now, the drastic sales measures that hotels in Mauritius have implemented is bringing results and these results might on one side be filling rooms for some, while some other structures are standing empty. This topic has been on my mind for a while but I wasn’t yet aware how serious this impact currently already is and how many part takers of the industry have been influenced to face a change in the scenery of how once tourism was running in the sense of occupancy and profit after turnover.

Continue Reading


Mauritius Tourism – Does the tourism industry need a wake up slap!?


Many have already been woken up by the slap of negative figures while some are starting to rejoice in profits of restructuring they have carried out. Our industry in tourism is definitely wide awake. Arrivals from new markets are making itself seen and felt. But in which direction is it steering or are we still dreaming and waiting for better times?

At the end of the article I will share a small tip to those who are running small agencies and who feel like facing the wall of china when trying to collaborate with resorts. A tip I haven’t mentioned in my other previous articles. This article is mainly an introduction to my articles I have written around the subject of holiday rentals in Mauritius and the tourism industry around this subject and the challenges small tour operators face when trying to collaborate with hotels and their TO and public rates policies.

My articles are also interesting for not only those who already work in this industry but also for those aspiring to get started. When I started 7 years back, inexperienced in this area, I wished I had some of the guidelines which I have published to give me a better perspective of this industry.

→ My first article deals with the holiday home rental agencies future in Mauritius.
Since I have been running my own agency since several years and facing various challenges I share my point of views of what scenarios to expect for agencies who especially depend a lot on the online channel.

→ My second article addresses the subject of what costs to expect when starting your own holiday rentals agency in Mauritius.
Out of my own experience I list costs that you have to face when you run a holiday rentals agency. Since regulations of fees constantly change some of my listed figures might not reflect the new decision of the Tourism Authority on how they will regulate the new fees of the Tour Operators licence since the trade fees have been introduced in 2014 which they are trying to balance out so that you don’t end up paying both the TO licence and the trade fees which will amount up to Rs.19 000. A good article for those in the business to check if you missed out on some fees and for others who are interested in running their own agency. Budgeting is an important factor before you just get launched.

→ My third article is about changes in the landscape of holiday rental agencies in Mauritius.
Many agencies in Mauritius are running out of business, closing down, restructuring, having to down size, practice layoffs and what was once a main business income turns into a side business income. I also go a bit more into details how other areas in this industry run and are affected. There aren’t only losers but also winners.

→ My fourth article speaks about how to renew your tour operators licence in Mauritius.
Every year this licence needs to be renewed and comes with some paper work. Try to be efficient so that you can reduce the amount of times you need to travel to Port-Louis. In this article I outline currently what you need to do when you need to renew your licence.

→ My fifth article speaks about TDS which stands for Tax Deduction at Source.
Since in the past many landlords asked me questions about TDS I decided to compile an article around this subject. If you have no clue what TDS is, this article can be an introduction. TDS is ofcourse way more vast, I will share links in that article where you can find further information.

Back to the little tip I mentioned above I was going to enlighten you of. While in my previous articles I address various challenges that you will face or that agencies are going through, I haven’t mentioned for instances solutions for every obstacle that you might face. For some cases its obvious and for others it will require experience how you work your way through in the tourism sector. And there isn’t a solution that just fixes all issues as this sector is complex. If you are a small agency having a lot of trouble selling hotel rooms and feeling like you are facing the wall of china when contacting hotels directly. I advise you to collaborate with a bigger local tour operator who can pass on to you their tour operator buying rates. Why would it be interesting for them to do that? Even though they pass on these rates to you, they can still benefit on a commission which is often at around 5%. They might also charge you a per person handling fee which will be minor but in this way you can access TO rates through them. Hotels will be more interested in collaborating with you when you can offer them a certain amount of volume.


How to apply TDS Tax Deduction at Source for Tour Operators and Holiday Rental agents in Mauritius


By now all those in the tourism industry since the 15th of December 2011 should know how TDS works. I made a small tutorial back then for my partners that collaborate with my agency Isla-Mauricia to get an overview of how TDS works and it has brought in additional steps to process when you handle payments. This article might also be useful for those aspiring to work directly with landlords as a holiday rental agency, property manager or property owners by setting up their own villa rental agency. If you own a property and you wish to rent it to tourists you will need to apply for a tourist enterprise licence at the tourism authority and when you collaborate with local agencies in Mauritius they will have to pay your TDS directly to the MRA. More to that in my article below.

TDS Mauritius

By the way, TDS applies on many other types of goods and services in Mauritius. My article only addresses tour operators, agents and tourism rental properties. I have added a link at the bottom of the article of the MRA which covers TDS more in depth. It’s good to have a look and to know. Just an example why, did you know that: “Payments made to a non-resident for any services rendered in Mauritius pursuant to section 111B(h) of the Income Tax Act” is 10%.

When TDS was introduced, it made quite some work for many. I worked out a solution with my programmer which does all the calculations for me in my backend system in which I process reservations for bookings of beach villas and apartments. TDS actually has resulted in me having quite some costs in handling it! And also it requires you to spend additional time processing it, just like VAT.

Continue Reading


How to renew your Tour Operators licence in Mauritius


Update:
20.10.16

My article below dates back to the year 27.09.2014. A few things have changed again and actually the steps to do your renewal are back like it used to be. The trade fee has been cancelled.

So in order to do your renewal you will need to:
Before going to the Tourism Authority
1. Renew your public liability so that it covers the whole of the next following year.
2. Print out a letter that states that there is no change in the shareholding structure of your company. It should be a letter that carries the letter head of your company and must be stamped + signed.

Once you have done point 1 & 2 you can go to the Tourism Authority for renewal. I suggest you to go 2-3 months before your licence expires. Then you will have less waiting time.
What to take along when you go to the Tourism Authority?
1. Public liability insurance policy that clearly states the name of your company and coverage period.
2. Your letter that states that there is no change in the shareholding structure of your company. It should be a letter that carries the letter head of your company and must be stamped + signed.
3. Your old tour operator licence.
4. Cheque book, credit card or cash of Rs.11 000.

For point 2 you can use this as a template:

Tourism Authority
For the DIRECTOR
1st Floor, Victoria House
Corner Barracks and St.Louis Street
Port-Louis
Mauritius

Date: _________________
Subject: Renewal of Tour Operators licence

Dear Director of the Tourism Authority,
this is to confirm that there is no change in the shareholding structure of Your Company Name Ltd. The only shareholder is still the Managing Director of the company, bearing name Your Name and ID No. Your ID No.. The secretary of the company is still Name of Secretary.

Yours Sincerely,

_______________________________________
Your Name

The article below can be interesting to review for learning purposes and it does also include steps and a template how to request a certified copy of your annual return from the companies division which displays who is the current share holder of the company. You will have to request that if there have been changes in your shareholding structure.

Else for additional accuracy I recommend you to also contact the Tourism Authority if you have questions and you can find a lot of infos on their websites:

Mauritius Tourism Authority official website
(Old website) The Mauritius Tourism Authority official website


Old Article from 27.09.2014

As a tour operator in Mauritius, every year you need to renew your licence at the tourism authority based in Port-Louis, Mauritius. It involves several steps and procedures and you are required to go to Port-Louis a minimum of two times. I’ll outline that a bit later in my article. To get your licence renewed, you also need to pay and apply for various other documents, else you won’t get your renewal!

Those that have done business in Mauritius from abroad and living here, know that the island in its constant aim of progress; quite often changes its rules and regulations how such application procedures and renewals are handled. Never the less, you will still, every year, require to invest a bit of time, effort and transportation to get all what they require in your act together for submission. And even if you do everything precise, someone at some counter will make some comment that this or that isn’t right but however often a solution is provided or the latter is resolved.

Tour Operators Licence of IM Travel Services Ltd.

Tour Operators Licence of IM Travel Services Ltd. which runs Isla-Mauricia

Continue Reading


This is what SEO talk sounds like when 5 experts meet


Yesterday I had a look at this recorded hangout on air embedded below of “How Does Google Determine Content Quality? How Would You?” whicht hosted the following five speakers:
+Eric Enge, +Bill Slawski, +Ammon Johns, +David Harry, +Mark Traphagen

I have seen those guys speak in various other recorded HoAs and their discussions always deliver a series of goodies and take aways (in the sense of their conclusions and research work around SEO) for the ones interested about SEO and the arts of online marketing.

While for many; SEO is believed to be just link building, getting the content and titles of their pages right. Have a look at this discussion and discover the depths of SEO and its technical aspect. The panda update was mentioned several times. It’s been since a long time that I don’t follow up on Google updates any more, once upon a time when there were still those Google dances… Following these guys gets you quickly back on track.

My first expectation of their discussion; was it going to be the revelation how you create a high quality page? It turned out more to be what are the different aspects Google looks at to determine quality and how search results differ depending to various criteria such as the intent of the search, the time it was done. Some great examples where also mentioned such as sport games – how these results differ depending at what time you are doing your search.

These are my notes of their discussion round:
High quality site algorithm
Patterns (Points attribution or content quality scores. User behaviour being observed by quality raters to notice some patterns.)
Signals of low quality
Quality raters
Identifying domain place holder pages, content farms, link pages
Continue Reading


How do cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins work?


The first time I heard about Bitcoins was on the radio here in Mauritius. I didn’t pay much attention and reminded myself you need to check it out someday. The word bit combined with coins should create a spark of curiosity for anyone interested in information technology.

Bitcoins

The only news we were getting was negative, that bitcoins are risky as a form of investment. Nothing was said about its impressive engineering.
Then bitcoins also made it on TV if I recall correctly on our local news and the presentator announced that the central bank of Mauritius has announced that bitcoins are risky. That’s the only advertising bitcoins got in Mauritius!

Facebook which so many are dissing at times, sometimes helps you to find like minded people! While posting about areas of interest I got into contact with someone who was at the same school as I was and who is definitely way more savy about crypto currencies than I am. Well thanks to him I got introduced to this subject. The details he was mentioning about crypto currencies was absolutely an alien language and still is. So I decided to dig into bitcoins and learn what is bitcoin in order to understand and to have some comprehension.

Watching a few youtube videos did help to get the overall picture but I still felt more lost! I wanted to know how they work. I checked some bitcoin websites and reading didn’t help much either. I then watched a lot of youtube videos where bitcoins are explained. This kind of started to make more sense to me and then later on, when re-viewing those bitcoin explanatory websites their content was starting to make more sense.

But I have realised, everything about bitcoins is huge. Once you thought OK now I understood this part, you will soon discover HOW LITTLE YOU KNOW… And this makes it even more interesting! I don’t even see bitcoins as a mere currency for buying and selling. It’s way more than that!
Continue Reading


Changes in the landscape of holiday rental agencies in Mauritius


This year has been a -and still is going to be a very challenging year for many holiday rental agencies in Mauritius. When I speak of holiday rental agencies in general, I mean those that act as an intermediary in proposing beach villas and apartments on their websites usually holding a tour operators licence obtained by the Mauritius Tourism Authority. There is a difference to the tasks performed by property managers who do maintenance work on site, receive clients and have exclusivity in re-marketing those units through a network of agencies with whom they collaborate. Some of these market their offers through my Isla-Mauricia holiday rentals agency websites.

To run a holiday rental agency in Mauritius means you are operating in an ever growing competitive market. The more costs you have, the bigger your team is, the more hard you will be hit once the low season strikes and if your bookings start becoming less and less. A situation I had to face myself since last November 2013. I experienced a sudden decline in bookings. November, usually one of my best months performed very badly and this trend remained on going till May. June and July have been satisfactory and I’m currently observing the month of August there are still 15 days to go and I hope for this month to end stable which could be a sign for recovery and the year ending positively. Though I speak for my own situation, it could be completely different for others.

Changes in the landscape of holiday rental agencies in Mauritius

Changes in the landscape of holiday rental agencies in Mauritius

I faced for the first time in my life this year the challenge of laying off my team that had grown to be like a family. This could make for another blog post in the context of challenges an entrepreneur faces and how to lay off and say good bye – its over!
There are various theories, scenarios that you can study, or try to put into practice but reality often has its surprises taking you off guard and handing you a slap! A slap to wake up or a slap to make you cry. When money talks, it can get “brutal”. Deal with banks and you will see, there is no love, no heart, no passion – just the figures that matter – the rest is just acting to get your business. From smile to the dagger into your back. This wasn’t my case but this is what you could face when laying off since its a very sensitive issue.
Continue Reading


Yifat Cohen & Jason T. Wiser Google+ Strategies – How to master hashtags and decipher authority signals


Yesterday night I spent a while watching those two recorded hangout on air (HoA) sessions of Jason T. Wiser and Yifat Cohen. I decided to give it a night and let it sink in and reflect before I make my personal article of what spoke to me the most from their presentation. I must also add that sometimes watching various HoA relating to the subject of social media and marketing that some terms take a while to sink in. While David Amerland has mentioned so often in his presentations the term instant gratification – it’s only now after hearing it again and trying to access some links that this made a tick realising that yes indeed this is what I or we have turned into. We want things now, and with the least clicks possible.

Yifat Cohen - Jaston T.  Wiser - Get On Track Stay On Track - More Yifat Cohen G+ Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Your Small Business

Yifat Cohen – Jaston T. Wiser – Get On Track Stay On Track – More Yifat Cohen G+ Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Your Small Business

I have been on many websites in the past, and you know those long pages which tell you stories over stories where at the end in order to get what you want you must pay to get the answer. When I see opt in offers on websites, it’s usually what I expect – a smart content scheme to entice me to give my credentials in order to get something for free where halfway through I must then pay. Meaning this has led me to doubt opt in pages. That’s why; the LEAST I have to click away from a network, the more I prefer it. This is what is so great about hangouts on Google+ you do get professional information for free. It is a different form of University where you make up your own studies, get access to experts, get to ask them questions. On top its fun!

Continue Reading


Scroll Up