Tourism, a fresh start for Madagascar

Last September in Paris, Madagascar introduced its new branding strategy, but not only. Its airports will be modernized and the national airline Air Madagascar will be partnered with a foreign airline after getting out of the European black list.

“It is a destination that makes you dream but which had less visitors from France. We are highly motivated to relaunch the destination” say Mr. Joel Randriamandranto, current president of Madagascar Tourism Board (ONTM).

At this occasion, the new destination’s branding has been revealed: “Madagascar, Treasure Island”. To get more money to promote the destination better worldwide, the government and the tourism board have decided to make pay the visas for journeys less than 30 days. Since the 31st of Fabruary 2106, tourists must pay 31 euros when entering Madagascar. The money collected “will be fully dedicated for the tourism economic recovery and will finance new buildings in the island”, has declared the Malagasy minister of Tourism.

There is much to be done in Madagascar

The main airport of the Island, Ivato, will be modernized to host heavy carriers such has Airbus A380 for 2019. Works already started to host the Francophonie Forum and Summit last November. The new airport area will be 20 000 sqm large, i.e. twice larger compared to now.

The extension works include 3 parts, with the building of a new international terminal, that will architecturally look like the Ravinala (Traveler’s palm). The capacity will be then 1.5 million passengers a year.

The terminal will have 3 boarding decks and a tarmac able to carry the most recent heavy carriers.

The current terminal will be completely renovated and its runway will be devoted to local flights. The cost of the works is 120 million euros.

The Nosy Be Fascène airport will be modernized too, as part of this private/public sectors partnership between Aéoroports de Paris (ADP) and the Malagasy state.

About the national airline, huge changes are coming. The company is out of the European Annex B where it was listed in 2009. A terrible situation that has burden the destination for French tourists’ arrivals. “We were exptecting 120 000 French visitors in 2008, there were barely 60 000” said Joel Randriamandranto.

To the question why was the company blacklisted for European Union, it seems that the answer is the lack of spare pieces by the lack of investment in several airports of the country.

This lack of investment had a terrible impact on touristic flows.

But let’s forget the past! Air Madagascar will partner with a foreign company in the coming months to have more financial strength.

We talk about 2 potential partners Air Austral or Ethiopian Airlines. Air Austral is a French Airline based in La Réunion island, in the Indian ocean, near Madagascar. Ethiopian Airlines is of course the eponymous company, that is much larger and powerful compared to the French one: 12 000 employees worldwide and 85 aircrafts.

But remains this disaffection of French market, not very much justified regarding what the island has to offer and the pretty safe situation in terms of security.

As a result of the less arrivals of French Tourists, the tourism flows has been diversified with in particular a growth of Italian tourist and the ermergin interest of Asian markets.

Concerning the domestics flights, the launch of a new domestic carrier last year: “Madagasikara Airways”, should improve the situation. Indeed, the only domestic carrier currently: Air Madagascar, is renowned to be very expensive on these flights.

“All lights are green now, next year we will have good news to announce for the national company. Moreover, our new strategy will offer a great visibility on air transport” has declared Roland Ratsiraka, Tourism minister.

The country wishes to launch direct flights from abroad to secondary airports in the Island. A meaningful strategy as the “Great Island”, let’s remind it, is 1 580kms long from north to the south!