Entries Tagged 'Mauritius' ↓

Luxury is a elusive description?




I like the definition of luxury pertaining to hotels in Mauritius as reported by an analyst of a fund manager of Anglo Mauritius financial services (AMFS).


We were invited to the NMHL analyst meeting at Dinarobin hotel in Le Morne. So have you ever wondered what two finance maniacs discuss from Port-Louis to Le Morne? After our usual rant of the length of the journey we started to wonder why they organized this meeting at Le Morne. Obviously the aim was for us to visit the revamped luxury hotel at a cost of Mur 200 m. A series of questions barged into our mind. Why such a massive amount? What is Luxury?How is it determined? How is the demand created?

We are sure that the many stockbrokers present have already forwarded you the outcome of the meeting in terms of financial and outlook as prescribed by NMHL’s management but we aim to provide you something different including some sometimes under-rated aspect of the hospitality business by financiers.

Here is a synthesis of our thoughts and visit:

There are no precise definitions of luxury. In fact, the least that we can say is that Luxury definitions are blurring. Luxury comes in many guises and defining a luxury hotel is challenging. As in the past, luxury is constantly evolving and means different things to different people. For some it may be a hotel offering simplicity, privacy and spiritual well being whereas for others it may be 24-hour butler service or a personal shopper. Needs may differ according to the nature and purpose of the trip, the origin of the guest and the location of the hotel.To add to the confusion, some operators have taken to calling themselves ‘7 star’ to imply an Uber luxury product. Even at the high end though there are varying degrees of luxury. This means that Luxury is a moving target. There are only a few who really have the “Midas” touch to spot these trends and exploit them. NMHL has a demonstrable past success in this endeavour. Overall, luxury is generally regarded as a combination of facilities and style and something you don’t normally experience at home.

Demand drivers- Motivation for buying luxury goods in general

Clearly the demand drivers for luxury hotels varies with the type of property and is influenced by factors such as location and whether the hotel is an urban, resort or destination property, on the size, style, on-site facilities and so on. But why do consumers buy luxury goods and services? Five main reasons are:

1.         ‘Treat factor’
2.         Perceptions of luxury delivering better quality
3.         Brand image (especially important for younger consumers)
4.         Self indulgence
5.         ‘Showing off’ – this typically lead to marketing via word of mouth

In Dinarobin….

We were tour guided in the hotel where we saw a stunning hotel that really made a good use of a breath-taking site, in particular the Le Morne peninsula. During our tour visit, we saw the famous Clarins brand. Here we realize one important reality of the hospitality businesses in Mauritius: Consumers value spas. Many luxury hotel companies are pursuing out-of-room revenue growth opportunities, including potential food and beverage outlets and spa growth opportunities in specific properties. Increased awareness of spa experiences as rejuvenation exercises, diversification of spa products to include hiking, yoga, dance classes and other multi-generational products, increasing level of branding within the spa industry in hotels and increasing disposable incomes, are some of the factors that will drive the spa component growth in hotels in future years. Those we spoke to agreed that a spa is an essential facility and revenue generator, not just added as a differentiator. Dinarobin has annexed sauna as well as hammam to complete the pleiade of services offered. We also saw the joint golf course between Dinarobin and Paradis as a massive differentiator.

At the end of the tour, we realized that the main aspect of NMHL is that it owns trophy assets located in prime spots. This explains the ability of NMHL to preserve its pricing power even at the time of crisis. NMHL has not barged into cutthroat competition. This we believe showed into the financials.

But in view of the recent world economic plague, is this stock undervalued? Are there better opportunities ahead? How will the forex environment develop? What is the state of barriers to entry? Should you invest your total savings in the name? At what time should you buy it if yes?

At AMFS we have a team of committed and experienced professionals with their minds constantly directed towards finding solutions to these dilemmas. Our expertise range from strong fundamental and technical analysis with the aim to add value to the portfolio we manage. We study business in-depth. It is something that we are passionate about.

Un quote

An NLP practiotioner would ask you: “what do you mean by a luxury hotel? Please specify the term luxury?”



I was delighted to attend the 33th anniversary celebrations of HUALIEN club at Trianon. It crossed my mind that the present President Chan Sun may not have been born when the club was formed or was just a toddler then,and I rejoice that the 33year old organisation is having a new youth with this new generation of active members. Perhaps more significantly, on the celebration day the new website was presented and a master plan for the future development was revealed by the younger generations.

I went through the new website built by Joel Wan Chow Wah, single handedly, and was pleased to see a number of interesting features namely: ‘The Sino Mauritian’ and the ‘Cultural resources’. However I think that the Mission & Aims of HUALIEN club could have been more prominent. The purpose & usefulness of the club can be found in reading through its ‘History’ and story behind the ‘birth of the club’.

I would eagerly wish that the website become an interactive one. Not only could the website be an information diffusing vehicle of the club but also become a place where members can interact with the club and amongst themselves in the virtual world.

Today, I congratulated Joseph Tsang Man Kin for his contribution to the cultural pages shown on the website. Surprise! By returned email, he told me that he did not know that he featured thereon.

All told, I am proud to belong to the club. I have to congratulate the founder members for their vision. My gratitude also goes to all the Past Presidents and their respective committees who through the years have maintain the spirit and have through much struggle built up this wonderful 9 arpents infra-structure which will benefits the future generations.

Long live HUALIEN! Long live the Sino Mauritian Community! Long live Multi- ethnic Mauritius!

Port Louis Cruise Hub Indian Ocean


The last time I was in Barcelona to join a Cruise, I was amazed by the Cruise terminal and the set up of the Port Terminal. Since traveling to the less prosperous countries of South America, I had the opportunity of using and testing more modest facilities.

In the Indian Ocean region, whilst Mauritius is the star Tourist destination, is it possible to build up Port Louis to be the  main hub of Cruise liners by setting up the appropriate facilities?

With the improving technologies with the latest  cruise ships, the ride could be as calm as in the Caribbean region. The Indian Ocean of our region would well be developed into a cruise ocean. This could well be a regional project spearheaded by ‘Commission de L’Ocean Indien.’ Adequate part facilities could be coordinated to be ready to allow cruises to operate in Mauritius, Reunion, Comoros, and ports of Madagascar.

One could very easily image the ripple effects that Cruise liners have on the economy of the countries?

We just need to have the vision and to go for it. Let us hope the right quarters can hear my plead.

Caritas Ile Maurice

I took much pleasure in reading the second edition of the Caritas Newsletter August 2009.

What most interested me was to learn of the Caritas partnership with the government with Life Skills management and the Second chance programme.

Jean Claude de l’Estrac who was chairing the National Empowerment program re-oriented the program to start building the self esteem of the needy before training them for a job. He assesed that the original program was not yielding the results planned because of the lack of confidence of the poor of the poorest. The society has ignored them for too long, they have lost the sense of being a worthy human.  Let us hope that Caritas and all those working in this field have now found the good thread!


Cardinal Jean Margeot

Je l’ai toujours appelé toujours Monseigneur Jean Margeot quoique je l’ai connu Père Margeot dans ma tendre jeunesse. Il est partit pour la maison du Père ce matin.

Je jouais au football dans la varangue de grand père à la rue Joseph Rivière à Port Louis quand les deux Peres Margeot nous visitaient. J’avais peu être que 8 ou 9 ans, ils rendaient visite à nos parents qui étaient très impliqués dans les activités du diocèse. Ce soir la, le père Robert Margeot n’a pu s’empêcher de faire un tir de but vers mon frère cadet qui était dans les buts. C’est mon plus ancien souvenir de Monseigneur Margeot tout habillé de sa soutane blanche.

Au fil des années , nous nous sommes rencontres à maintes reprises. Un grand moment qui restera indébilement dans ma  mémoire : son homélie à la cathédrale pour les funérailles de Maman. Il connaissait tres bien Maman, d’autant plus que Maman participait à ses sessions de Méditation Chrétienne qu’il animait à sa retraite. Mgr Margeot faisait un hommage du travail de Maman auprès de la famille et de son entourage : il disait de Maman la cheville ouvrière pour la conversion de la famille YIPTONG et des nombreuses personnes à la vie chrétienne.

La relation de la famille avec Mgr Margeot était proche. Jusqu’au départ de Papa vers le Canada, chaque année nous recevons à diner chez nous Mgr Margeot pour la fête du printemps.

Peu avant sa maladie en 2005 encore, Mgr Margeot avait animé chez le cousins Jean et Annette des séances privées de prières à l’occasion du Carême.

J’ai une admiration pour lui, ce saint homme pour sa simplicité et son esprit d’avant garde. Pour ses 90 ans, il était encore tres averti et un utilisateur féru de l’informatique. Il avait encore des projets a mettre en place. Louanges aux Seigneur de nous avoir offert le cadeau d’une vie féconde de Mgr Margeot, un guide, un pasteur, un modèle et un grand mauricien.

Mgr Margeot nous accompagne autrement de la maison du Père.

Reiki Healing

I had a session of Reiki on me by my nephew who is receiving there on in Singapore. This is not my first encounter with this type of alternative health treatment. Some years back an old colleague took me to a Reiki Center in Quatre Bornes for two sessions. I did not experience any improvement of my health conditions then. I am of opinion that transfer of energy is possible from a person to another but I have yet to see any healing. Some psycho somatic conditions may find cure from alternative medicine, why not try? Is it the placebo effect that works? In any case no harm could be done, why not give it a try?

I am still very amazed by the amount of rituals that are performed during the session. As a patient I would feel the warmth of the practitioner on my body when he laid his hands. Did he heal me? My immediate answer is a definite ‘no’.

At least this session has given me the opportunity to search on the subject and to sharpen my knowledge on the subject.

I found that in the US, the Catholic Church has taken position recently.

In March 2009, the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a decree (Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy, 25 March 2009) halting the practice of Reiki by Catholics, including Reiki therapies used in some Catholic retreat centers and hospitals. The conclusion of the decree stated that “since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy.”

I would like to understand more about the Reiki therapy that renders it not compatible with Christian teaching.Is it the practice and rituals used or is it the esoteric back ground or belief thereon?  I would more easily accept that no scientific evidence has yet been found. I believe that after all only God heals.

Second Chance

As you have probably learned the authorities are launching a program called Second Chance to alleviate the poverty and give a chance to the poorest of the poor.

« Autre mesure phare : la mise sur pied d’un Second Chance Programme , qui devait avoir été établi en janvier. Il s’agit d’un plan d’alphabétisation et de maîtrise des langues pour ceux ayant quitté l’école. Le but de ce programme est d’aider ceux- ci à s’insérer dans la vie professionnelle. « Ce programme a débuté ce mois- ci avec 220 étudiants dans 8 centres. Les étudiants vont bénéficier d’une allocation mensuelle de Rs 1 500 » , déclare le ministère de l’Education. »

I was very pleased to have been convened to a meeting of the evaluation to the team of social workers who have participated to the launch of this program. Caritas have been selected to spearhead this initiative of the government. Why?

The proposal of Caritas comprised 4 different elements that matches the needs of the sociological needs of the targeted population. Caritas have been working thereon for a number of years. Caritas have through the years researched the concepts and worked on the implementations required. Through a lengthy process of trials and errors Caritas have come up with a model that seems to hold the road.

‘Alphabetisation fonctionnelle’ has required years of research and the support of specialist in Education to be set up. The earlier research was done by Jean Pierre Carosin for 4 years and funded by Secours Catholique, later through Funds donated by the European community a specialist in Education of Belgian origin, Elise Ways was stationed in Mauritius for 4 years to carry on the implementation and development work. The objective of this ‘Alphabetisation fonctionnelle’ program is to fasten literacy for the underprivileged through a peer to peer learning experience.

Caritas spirit of Empowering the people by the people has always been present through the project. Caritas respects the freedom of the individual and work to increase the dignity and self esteem of the individual. At Caritas, every single human has potential of their own and thru his strengths other hidden talents may be developed. Sure enough the poor because of their conditions may have been disadvantaged Caritas‘s role is to empower them to bridge the gap.

Life skills management is another program which Caritas has developed using Covey leadership material as inspiration. There again, care has been taken to use a peer to peer sharing methodology instead of a top down, teacher to student teaching process. Learning occurs through eliciting collective intelligence from the group’s experience and building the capacities.

The two other elements of the proposed package are the value of work and personal and family budgeting.

Let us hope that Second Chance will bring some comfort and improve the conditions of the poor.

World Politics and the entrepreneur

A lecture, last month from Thierry Garcin, a commentator on the French Radio, boasted my interest in world affairs. We listened daily to world news; perhaps we may tender a soft ear to these world occurrences. As I am quite keen on world affairs, I need to document more on the subject. With the internet, it is possible and convenient to read the worldwide media there on.

Much like a jig saw, the small pieces of news diffused everyday fit in a larger frame that in time draws the world wide trends. More so, in the globalised economies of different countries and the speed of transmission of news, geopolitical events and for that matter any large events affect any country fast. Thus an entrepreneur cannot turn a deaf ear to world news and needs to constantly updated and analyse the impact of ourselves.

As we are not on the fore front of world economics, we have the time and more interestingly the advance knowledge of seeing the impact of world happenings reaching our shore. We saw few months ago, the impact of the financial crisis and its delayed effect on us. The crunch on world travel and its repercussions on Tourism are now felt.

I have to deplore the reaction time of us Mauritians to deal with these situations. I must admit that in the case of the tourism sector, the industry reacted reasonably well. A smart operator will thus be able to bank on the slot of the changing time to maximise on his profits. I must admit that I was not smart enough to review my portfolio of investment the last time to minimise my book lost.

The wish and deployment of China in building their infra structure of their country in the last decade has put on pressure on the price on building material, petroleum products, coal and even shipping chartering. As a businessman, the strategy deployed on your market is different depending the way you perceive the trend of the market. In a recession, whilst demand is on a decrease and the prices are going up, the entrepreneur needs to readjust his actions. As recently as 2years ago, an entrepreneur who was in building material in Mauritius, was in a euphoric expanding market with the depression in prices of materials. It was possibly to maximise his profits in turning around his stock fast. The global scene has suddenly changed now, a quick readjustment is required.

Thank you Thierry Garcin for opening my mind and giving my tips on analysis world happenings.

Trinh Xuan Thuan

Trinh était à Maurice le 29 & 30 mai. C’était un grand plaisir de le revoir au Hilton pendant une bonne heure en compagnie de mon ami Marcel qui avait organisé la dernière visite de l’illustre Astrophysicien chez nous.

Qui est Trinh Xuan Thuan ?

Il est professeur d’astrophysique à l’Université de Virginie aux états unis et est spécialisé dans l’extragalactique. Il est surtout un écrivain de langue française, très lu pour un scientifique qui vulgarise l’astrophysique avec un relent de spiritualité bouddhisme. Parmi ses écrits :

  • Les voies de la lumière : Physique et métaphysique du clair-obscur, Fayard, 2007
  • Origines – la nostalgie des commencements, Fayard, 2003
  • L’Infini dans la paume de la main, avec Matthieu Ricard, 2000
  • le Chaos et l’Harmonie, Fayard, 1998
  • Le Destin de l’Univers, Découvertes Gallimard, 1992
  • Un astrophysicien, Beauchesne-Fayard, 1992
  • La mélodie secrète, Fayard, 1988

Il était en route pour une série de conférences pendant les vacances scolaires. La semaine dernière il était au festival de Fez au Maroc ou se tenait une colloque sur l’interreligieux. Durant tout l’été de l’hémisphère du nord il animera des colloques et conférences avant de prendre un peu de vacances dans son pays d’origine, le Vietnam.

Depuis notre dernière rencontre, Trinh avoue qu’en matière Astronomie, les dernières recherches confirment l’expansion galactique car il y a une théorie qui prône que par l’attraction l’expansion du Big Bang pourrait se ralentir.  Je garde en souvenir les paroles dites, d’un regard rêveur toute aussi bien en grande paix: ( je paraphrase ici) le monde des infiniment petits et le monde des infiniment grands nous transportent dans une béatitude inouïe vers notre voie pour un  éveil de l’esprit créateur.

Citations de Trinh

Au terme de nos conversations, je dois dire mon admiration accrue pour la manière dont le bouddhisme analyse
le monde des phénomènes. Il l’a fait de façon profonde et originale. Mais le but ultime de la science et du
bouddhisme n’est pas le même. La science s’arrête à l’étude et l’interprétation des phénomènes, alors que pour le
bouddhisme, le but est thérapeutique. En comprenant la vraie nature du monde physique, nous pouvons nous
libérer de la souffrance engendrée par notre attachement erroné à la réalité apparente du monde extérieur et
progresser dans la voie de l’Eveil.

Merci Trinh pour ton affabilité, ta générosité, et ta grande simplicité.


Times seem difficult these days. We may be in recession but definitely business is getting tougher in most sectors. The turnovers are decreasing whilst the costs are increasing. I had a chat this week with my cousin who looks after gas distribution. Bottle gas is supposed to be a commodity that is most resilient to drop in consumption- the people need to use energy for cooking. It looks that even in this sector there is a lull in spite of the subsidies fed by the government to alleviate the burden of the population. On the other hand, operating the distribution is costing more with the escalating cost of Diesel and  with the mandatory increases to be allotted to the work force.

What are the possible solutions in this juncture?

Costs cutting will some say! Work smarter will others vouch! Indeed whilst increasing sales or turnover seems less likely, squeezing the costs is obvious. It is more easily said than actually implementing the cost squeezing strategies. Reducing the level of costs with the least pain and to work on the optimum means going through the costs elements, analysing them and determining the right level. I rather work on the elimination of waste. I recall during my past career that in some department when we were faced the need to increase our productivity, we utilised lean management techniques and Gemba Kaizen.

Lean Management I believe stems from Lean production systems. Lean production systems provide principles and practices to reduce costs through the relentlessly removal of wastes and the simplification of all processes. The introduction of Gemba Kaizen, particularly the 5 S I am pretty sure will provide some solutions. Sort, Straighten, Sweep, standardize and self discipline are the key words.

Let us all be reminded the vast campaign led a couple of years ago by the National Productivity Council NPCC: the Elimination of Muda.