Madagascar has world class tourism assets because of its biodiversity, unique wildlife, and long coastline of almost 5000 kilometres (3107 miles) with sandy beaches and another world to discover under water. And of course the friendly population with its fascinating culture is also reason to visit Madagascar. For the moment tourism is concentrated in three areas; around Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, and the islands of Nosy Be in the northwest and Île Sainte-Marie to the east, where beach tourism is the main tourist attraction.With respect to wildlife, the Analamazoatra Reserve (also known as Périnet or Andasibe) is a popular destination as it is only four hours away from the capital. The Indri-indri in the park are habituated to humans and are thus fairly easy for tourists to observe. The Indri-indri is the biggest lemur species, it does not survive in captivity due to its complicated diet, thus can only be seen in the wild.As tourism is a priority in the plans to develop the country many other tourist highlights are being opened up at the moment. The country has beautiful landscapes and the cultural resources to support tourism. Along the newly designated natural reserves responsible ecotourism is developed. The first Tourist fair held in Madagascar in November 2008 was promising.
With over 70% of the country living in poverty, tourism is seen as a way to reduce poverty and provide economic growth. Tourism is currently the second largest foreign exchange earner in the country, and the government hopes to increase this share. Still in the early stages of development, and with a number of challenges to overcome, the large potential for the tourist industry will be utilized as Madagascar’s infrastructure improves. Luckily there is growing interest in the country as a tourist destination.