Madagascar tourism feels the negative effect of the current plague epidemic. The tourism minister, Roland Ratsiraka, confirmed cancelled reservations.
"The recorded arrival rates are 10% for business tourism and 15% for conventional tourism," said the government member. According to him, the tourist sites are, until now, spared by the epidemic.
"For the month of October, 35% of reservations are cancelled," according to Rita Ravelojaona, president of the Federation of the Hoteliers and the Restaurant Owners of Madagascar (FHORM).
Despite these cancellations, the minister reassured tourists and operators that everything was going well in the sector. He confirmed the coming tourist events in several cities of the country. Among them are the Vez'tival in Toliara, the Lemur Trophy, and the Antsiranana International Fair. The events are expected by the minister to revive the Madagascar tourism, which according to him, is tarnished by the image of the plague in the international news.
"There are tourists who have not been discouraged to come to Madagascar. Air France and Air Madagascar were still full last weekend. It's a good sign. The cruise ships confirm their arrivals in the ports of Toamasina and Antsiranana," said Roland Ratsiraka.
However, empty seats have been reported in some airlines. This is the case, for example, of the flight of Ethiopian Airlines connecting Addis Ababa to Antananarivo where 800 seats of the Ethiopian company remained vacant.
Madagascar tourism is one of the most fragile sectors. The negative image of the destination Madagascar could annihilate a whole season.