Madagascar Tourism Under Duress from Civil Unrest


Reuters reports that Madagascar tourism faces collapse if political unrest continues. So far, a bitter power struggle on the island has killed 125 people. Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, a former disc jockey turned charismatic politician, accuses president Marc Ravalomanana of transforming Madagascar into a dictatorship and has established a parallel administration.

In the wake of weeks of civil unrest, Madagascar’s tourism industry, worth $393 million to the Indian Ocean island last year, has seen nearly all bookings cancelled for the start of 2009 and an occupation rate of less than 10 percent at hotels. Occupancy rates were 30 to 40 percent in 2008.

The State Department released a Travel Alert for Madagascar in January.