Madagascar minister of tourism: Interview of Roland Ratsiraka
Touristic season is at its peak. Year 2016’s numbers are showing us that the destination is getting better on the market. It is time to take stock with Roland Ratsiraka, tourism minister of Madagascar.
• How is the tourism business doing?
“The promoting actions of the destination are successful. We counted 240 000 tourists in 2015, then 293 000 in 2016, an increase of 20%. We will probably count more than 300 000 this year. It is an achievement considering that after the 2009’s political crisis, the 375 000 tourists of year 2008 fall down to 160 000. In 2014-2015 for example, only 60 000 French tourists came, compared to the 160 000 usually coming. But we can say now that business is better.
• What are the actions involved in this achievement ?
“It is mainly due to the suppression of immigration taxes on cruise passengers that helped with the increase of tourists. It is a request I made as tourism minister of Madagascar, to the minister of Finance in 2016. Lot of tourists decided not to come to Madagascar because of this tax, which did not helped the Vanilla Islands in general (Seychelles, Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, Maldives, Comoros). The coming of this cruise passengers, visiting the Indian ocean islands, supported the development of tourism. 40 000 more tourists came following this measure. The 2016’s international event Francophonie summit last year, did not helped tourism sector as much as expected: only 15 000 more. It is the promoting actions we made, especially Road shows in several major cities in the world, that helped with the recovery of tourism in Madagascar.”
Roland Ratsiraka, Madagascar minister of tourism
• How to carry on with this increase ?
” Foreign tourists require safety at first.The first impression they get when arriving in Madagascar is the international airport of Antananarivo which looks very unsafe. Hopefully, renovation is launched for the airports of Nosy Be and Antananarivo. However, it is annoying to hear that tourists have been repressed for non sense reasons. Tourists are to much searched when they arrive. We ask for more collaboration with the customs that need to let tourists in peace and focus more on people leaving illegally the island with protected turtles or undeclared gold. Airfares are already charged to passengers for the renovation for Antananarivo and Nosy Be airports, I don’t agree with this policy but the agreement is already sealed. 100 euros of airfare on a flight ticket costing 200, it is a lot! Madagascar is already among the most expensive countries to visit. The building of roads and a sustainable power supply is absolutely indispensable to get more tourists to come. My Ministry works hard to collaborate with other ministries. The recent partnership between Air Austral and Air Madagascar will of course support our developing strategy of tourism in Madagascar.
Source : L’express de Madagascar, 08-18-17