MADA­GAS­CAR

Trea­sure Is­land

Hospitality 9ja - - Content -

Lo­cated South of the equa­tor, in the In­dian Ocean, Mada­gas­car is the world’s 5th is­land in size (587 295 km2) af­ter Aus­tralia, Groen­land, Pa­pua New- Guinea and Bor­neo. 1 600 km long and 570 km wide, the « Big Is­land » or « Red Is­land » counts 23.812.681 in­hab­i­tants (2013 cen­sus).

Mada­gas­car is an em­i­nent mem­ber of the Vanilla Is­land As­so­ci­a­tion gath­er­ing all the In­dian Ocean’s ma­jor is­lands: The Co­moros, The Sey­chelles, The Mal­dives, Mau­ri­tius, Re­union… and of course Mada­gas­car!

In terms of tourists, it only counted 244.321 tourists in 2015 but with an av­er­age length of stay of 20 days. Tourism of­fi­cially only con­trib­utes to 5.4% of GDP to­day in a coun­try where more than 90% of the pop­u­la­tion lives on less than $2 (USD) per day. World-clas asets Mada­gas­car has an im­mense tourism de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial, no­tably in the area of cul­tural eco­tourism, with a lav­ish na­ture and an ex­cep­tional en­demic­ity of more than 80% for the flora and over 90% for the fauna. It is one of the rich­est coun­tries in terms of land, as well as, marine bio­di­ver­sity. The coun­try boast of 7 species of baob­abs, 6 of which can only be found in Mada­gas­car, 290 birds of which 105 are spe­cific to the Is­land and 105 species of lemurs. Other unique fea­tures in­clude 700 Km of splen­did coral reef (the world’s 3rd long­est) and 5,500Km of beau­ti­ful coast­line- the long­est in Africa (more than Mau­ri­tius, The Mal­dives, The Sey­chelles and Sri Lanka com­bined!).

It is also a par­adise for ad­ven­tur­ers and na­ture lovers: scuba div­ing and snorkelling, kite surf and sail­ing, climb­ing and spele­ol­ogy, raft­ing, hik­ing, bik­ing and or­nithol­ogy. Mada­gas­car counts among the world’s best div­ing sites, mag­nif­i­cent

la­goons, calm bays and stun­ning ar­chi­pel­a­gos in the West for sail­ing. Long and splen­did canals are lo­cated in the East for yacht­ing. The Big Is­land has a rich cul­tural her­itage – a unique blend of Asian, African, Arab, and Euro­pean cul­tures, a kalei­do­scope of his­toric sites, of cul­tural fes­ti­vals, of mu­sic, arts & crafts.

Fi­nally, it boasts a de­li­ciously per­fumed and re­fined cuisine, in­spired by this mix of cul­tural in­flu­ences and plen­ti­ful nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents found on the is­land. It has been granted so far 3 UN­ESCO Her­itage Sites, a strong and in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned brand for an exotic and beau­ti­ful des­ti­na­tion thanks to the pop­u­lar­ity of vanilla, and King Ju­lian & the world fa­mous car­toon Mada­gas­car! Ex­cep­tional na­ture re­serves 43 Pro­tected Ar­eas (na­tional parks) are spread over a land of more than 2 mil­lion hectares out of which 7 are listed as World Her­itage, 10 sites of hu­mid zones RAMSAR listed and 3 high qual­ity re­serves of bio­sphere. These ar­eas con­tain of course nu­mer­ous en­demic an­i­mal and plant species.

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