In the first five months of 2019, there has been a strong improvement in booking trends. Arrivals from France (excluding the Reunion Island), which is the most important source of visitors, were 33% high from 2018; arrivals from the ‘Vanilla Islands’ (Reunion, Mauritius, Mayotte, Comores and the Seychelles) were 21% high and from Italy 37% high. Markets which had experienced declines in late 2017 and early 2018, i.e. South Africa, Germany, Great Britain and China, all returned to growth. Only the US, which is Madagascar’s 8th most important origin market, continued to decline.
The most significant factor driving this improvement is a considerable increase in seat capacity. For example, during the first nine months of 2019, capacity to Europe has increased by 81% on Air Madagascar, the island’s most important carrier. This June, the airline started a new twice-weekly service to Johannesburg. Other important airlines like Air Austral or Air Mauritius are also increasing their capacities to Madagascar, by 23.6% and 3.8%, respectively for January to September, compared to the same period last year.
Boda Narijao, the President of the Madagascar National Tourist Office, said: “This is extremely encouraging data, which validates our recent initiatives to make Madagascar more appealing to international visitors.”
The WTTC has said that tourism is responsible for 15.7% of Madagascar’s economy and 33.4% of its total exports.