"Tourism must take a prominent place at the level of the economic policies and development."
Vola Raveloson, Executive Director of theONTM, gives us his thoughts on the current situation of tourism in Madagascar.

What is the role of tourism in the world and how does fit in the economic development of Madagascar ?

According to the WTO, as an exporting throughout the world class, Tourism comes in third behind the chemistry and fuels and to automotive and food industry 2016. Madagascar, Tourism is today the largest provider of foreign currency, If we exclude the relative to large mines share. En 2016, Tourism has generated 750 millions of dollars of foreign exchange for the local economy. As a reminder, Tourism is creating employment, either directly in tourist structures, or at the level of the value chain (suppliers, service delivery...). As everyone knows, It contributes to the preservation of culture and traditions because village communities and the historical heritage managers benefit from revenues from the interest in their folklore and sites. The generated income is also one of 4 pillars of the conservation of biodiversity, through the management of national parks and protected areas (village communities with less need to exercise pressure on the environment to live because benefiting directly or indirectly from tourism). This is a very brief summary of the capacity of tourism to the dignity of the Malagasys by labour and its ability to contribute to the fight against poverty. It is in this sense that tourism must take the preponderant, what she has not yet in fact, at the level of the economic policies and development that all the rulers of Madagascar will have to put in place.

In what aspects, the place of tourism does it she not yet sufficiently dominant in economic policies ?

When tourism will be the real ' spearhead ' economy, then we have to implement the strategies and resources commensurate with the ambitions expressed. There is a vision to which all the State departments will have to adhere and everyone will have to contribute to the realization of this vision. Servicing the tourist developing areas, the development of the accessibility, training of the staff around these sites to bring them into the process, the Organization of the local supply chain, and many others, are parameters contributing to the improvement of the competitiveness of the destination, and are especially cross-cutting public policies. To promote the destination to international markets, the State will need a budget, and more than three hundred thousand euros annually allocated so far, to reach levels close to those of the nearby islands (indicative : Mauritius / EUR 15 million).

The letter of the tourism policy has set a target of 500.000 tourists on the horizon 2020. Is it realistic in view of the existing infrastructure ?

Today, We have a seasonality in Madagascar which is still highly concentrated on the dry season because of the tourist circuits including national parks, accessibility can be difficult in the rainy season. This creates, on the other hand, a shortage of hotels during high season, which extends from July to October. There are also so-called tourism stay, which is more a pretty seaside tourism. There is an offer to develop on this type of tourism practiced in the year and this strategy will allow us to spread arrivals throughout the year to relieve the high season periods. In the second place at the level of infrastructure, According to a study that goes back a few years, 30% the hotels listed are not able to provide minimal comfort for a tourist base. An incentive and assistance strategy should be developed to ensure that these facilities are renovated, way to increase the quality of their offer and therefore enable them to open up to a new customer. There are also, of course, regulate seasonality on prices (yield management), with offers at particularly competitive prices during off-peak, in order to better spread the tourist season, and partially circumvent the problem of infrastructure. Beyond all this, It is clear that it really needs to have new hotels to accommodate more tourists during the high season. The EDBM has implemented a policy to attract the major hotel brands. Sometimes these are management contracts that will be implemented, Since local businesses provide infrastructure to the standards required by the major international hotel brands.

We talk regularly about the need to develop national tourism. Is this utopian not in terms of the local average purchasing power ?

In most of the major tourist destinations, national tourism plays a role of regulator in particular when the international market is rather chilly or retracts and allows hotels to have a viable occupancy rate. We can see that national tourism today exceeds the only limits of Tamatave and Majunga. At Nosy Be, the Regional Tourism Office makes it clear that national tourism is strong growth in these 5 in recent years with an increase of the order of 40%. This proves that there is a potential and that there is a different offer to be developed. By organizing the International Tourism Fair Madagascar show (ITM) in June each year, the ONTM is fixed as a aims to develop national tourism through precisely the presentation of all the offers available to all. Although it should propose a coherent strategy at transport level, at the level of tariffs and accommodation, We will work with the Ministry of tourism, the ITM salon contributes already undeniably and widely to the development of national tourism.

By Hotel * Gourmet Restaurant Coco Lodge Majunga

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