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Tourism in Madagascar

The Seven Coloured Earths

Tourists survey the unusual natural phenomena of the seven-coloured earth at Chamarel in west Mauritius, November 11, 2003.(Photo credits: Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi)

Despite a high potential for tourism, tourism in Madagascar is underdeveloped. Madagascar's tourist attractions include its beaches and biodiversity. The island's endemic wildlife and forests are unique tourist attractions.[1] However, historical sites, craftsmen communities, and relaxed cities make it a favorite with return travellers.

Tourist Attractions

Madagascar has been isolated from the African landmass for approximately 165 million years and its flora and fauna evolved in isolation from that time onwards.[2] The island is one of the world's most biologically diverse areas, and is internationally renowned as a wildlife tourism and ecotourism destination, focusing on lemurs, birds, and orchids.[3] More than half of the island's breeding birds are endemic.[2] Other native species include the red-bellied lemur, the aye-aye, and the indri (the largest lemur species).[4]

One of the best places to observe the indri is the Analamazoatra Reserve (also known as PĂ©rinet), four hours away from the capital.[3] The presence of the indri has helped to make the Analamazoatra Reserve one of Madagascar's most popular tourist attractions.[5]

Historical sites can be found throughout the country, but mostly in the capital, such as the Royal Palace or Rova in Antananarivo or the sacred hill of Ambohimanga nearby, both Unesco world heritage listed sites. A popular route from Antananrivo to Tulear in the south passes through several towns noted for their handicraft: Ambatolampy (aluminium foundry), Antsirabé (gemstones, embroidery, toys), Ambositra (marquetry), and Fianarantsoa.

Tourist Numbers

312,000 tourists visited Madagascar in 2006. Since 1990, the number of tourists in the country has grown at an average rate of 11% each year. 60% of its tourists are French,[6] who form the majority because of cultural and historical links between the countries, and flight routes.[7] Highly educated people who are interested in the country's botany, lemurs,[7] birds,[8] or natural history also make up a large part of its visitors. These visitors often travel as part of a tour and stay in the country for a long period of time. Most of Madagascar's tourism is low volume, high cost tourism.[7]

In the mid-1990s, tourism was the country's second largest export earner, bringing in US$50 million annually.[3] For 2007, tourism's contribution to Madagascar's GDP (direct and indirect impact) was estimated to account for 6.3% of GDP and 206,000 jobs (5.1% total employment).[6]

Development of Tourism

There is growing interest in the country as a tourist destination.[7] The country has beautiful landscapes and the cultural resources to support tourism. These resources provide many opportunities for the development of both ecotourism and resort based tourism.[6] Despite its growth, the tourism industry is very small. It is much smaller than those of the neighbouring Seychelles and Mauritius islands, and is the smallest among the islands in the Indian Ocean.[7]

Read More: Courtesy of Wikipedia, The the free encyclopedia


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