“The Tourism Ministry’s led capitalization of its skull session has outstanding ambitions for local tourism,” said Tourism Minister Benjamina Ramantsoa. He argues that the government would require five years long uninterrupted efforts to the attract anything near a million tourists a year. “What we are doing now is erecting necessary infrastructures and environment from the ground,” said Minister of Tourism. In its strategy, the ministerial department’s priority remains the search for financial support, the chase for investors first and foremost in the construction of suitable resorts, and the local job creation process. Job creation mainly encompasses the paramount development of tourism business and trade related skills, actually a relevant pillar in the boosting process. The tourism sector yearns for reaching and eventually beating the year 2008’s national record, and with this threshold held as absolute reference, for gradually attracting 500,000 then 1 million visitors a year on a regular basis. Back in 2008, the country’s hosting capacities were lower in number than they are now, namely 14,443 rooms available from 1,292 hotels. Out of the 375,000 non-resident visitors, whose entries were computed, 217,000 of them were in for leisure tourism. The country owed this performance to inflows of tourists from France and La Reunion island and tourists, who made nearly 70% of all non-resident visitors. Nosy-Be Island hosted the celebration of the 35th edition of the World Tourism Day which had the theme “Tourism and community development.” “This theme highlights how relevant the role of tourism happens to be in the long term development process. Community oriented tourism involves the local populations into decision-making in accordance with their own local priorities, and helps rebuilding general image after the downturn caused by the latest orange classification of Nosy-Be”, said Minister Ramantsoa. In 2013, 55% of all new arrivals were still French in spite of the sharp decline. A -32% of La Reunion based and -6% of continental French visitors were accounted for. Although the German market may be told to have skyrocketed, as reflected by a +14% rise, its contribution remains low for accounting for only 2% of all arrivals. It would be appropriate to assess the fallouts of France’s led orange depreciation of Nosy Be island as highly negative. The president of the Regional Tourism Board suggests that security related issues, among others perceived worldwide as such, drove many tour operators to remove the Perfume Island from their offers in 2014. During the first quarter of the year, the facilities accustomed to French regulars had to make do with a just over 10% volume. The orange depreciation might have been lifted in June, but it is much too early to collect significant effect on turnovers, even though the situation on the ground has improved beyond doubts. “80% of our rooms in average are usually occupied during high seasons of summer holidays. This year, we have to struggle to reach 40%. We hope the situation to recover normality in 2015” said an account manager. On Nosy-Be island, where the majority of accommodation facility managers happen to be French nationals, the Quai d’Orsay’s decision to lift the “penalty” – the classification of Nosy Be island in the much unflattering orange zone – understandably went down well. “It is unfortunate that it had taken the department so long to get a move on whereas all security issues on the ground had long been history. We know that tour operators require 3 months to sell the destination. It means that droughts keep going on over this year too” complained an operator.
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