One month from the start of the high season, reservations in travel agencies are timid.
However, tourists from abroad are gradually beginning to book tours and hotels with tour operators and agencies that are responsible for organizing tourist activities all over the Big Island. Despite this calm influx of tourists, most tourist operators confide that the number of reservations for their services is gradually increasing. “Reservations are not yet coming one after another, but compared to the years of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are still seeing that it is increasing. For our agency, usually at this time of year, we could count hundreds of reservations per year, we had 800, even nine hundred people who reserved places during the high season. Currently, we are halfway there.
Same scenario for another tour operator agency. “We have quite a few reservations at the moment compared to the period before Covid, but compared to the two previous years, that is to say in 2021 and 2022, the rate of reservations has relatively increased”, confides a manager. of customers within a major tour operator in Antananarivo. For the latter, the number of tourists expected this year may not be the same as in 2019, a year when economic and tourist activities suddenly faded. As a reminder, the number of tourists who visited the Big Island during this year was 486,000 people.
Level to catch up
The Ministry of Tourism, for its part, maintains that this level could be reached for this year. Remember that the initial estimates of this department predicted a number of tourist arrivals of around 300,000 people for 2023. “The actions we took last year have borne fruit because if we look at current trends in the sector, as well as the data for the first half of this year, it is very likely that we will reach the level of 2019 in terms of tourist arrivals”, estimates the head of the communication department of the MinTour. However, the efforts made do not stop at this simple projection. The Ministries of Tourism and Air Transport confirm that the frequency of flights to the Big Island will be increased as well as the capacity of national and international airports which can already accommodate a total of 1,500,000 people. It is also appropriate for Madagascar, and in this case the national air transport company, Madagascar Airlines to “open up more to the world”. Words from the Minister of Transport and Meteorology, Valery Ramonjavelo this week.