Madagascar dealing with Covid-19

Laurenne Mansbridge

05 November 2020

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Madagascar and COVID-19

Here at Pioneer Expeditions we have been contacting our partners to find out how destinations have been coping during these unprecedented times. We thought you may be interested in hearing what it is really like on the ground in some of your favourite countries rather than just touching the surface.  Some are faring better than others (either in respect of Covid19 control, or financially), but all struggling in different ways. We want to portray details at a more personal level – in order to gain more in-depth insights.


This blog will include information provided by Gilles, our partner at Madamax.


Madagascar is patiently waiting for the international borders to be opened once again. There are predictions that tourist numbers could be at the same levels as last year, but this does highly depend on the decision about opening international borders. It has been said that ‘Nosy Be’ may open within the next month – however, this is still awaiting final decision due to other countries (majority of Europe) heading back into a lockdown.


One of the main reasons for being so keen to get tourists back to Madagascar is that throughout this pandemic, the country has been relatively clean and safe from coronavirus. Levels of infection in Madagascar have been extremely low and therefore hasn’t been a major problem in terms of public health throughout the country.


Covid measures that are in place are following the procedures of ‘protocole sanitaire’ which is a detailed document explaining what needs to be followed. Madagascar are  member of OMS (Organisation Mondaile de la Sante).


These protocols include (as of 4th November 2020):

  • Social distancing
  • Regular hand washing and sanitizing
  • Wearing a mask in public and private spaces
  • Keeping contact with others to a minimum and avoiding it altogether in most cases.

Upon entry to Madagascar, visitors are required to follow quarantine rules and the above protocols.


How has tourism, and the country as a whole been affected during these times?

Borders have been ‘locked’ since March 21st 2020. Infection rates have remained very low however, there have been other detrimental effects on the country and its residents. AS a result of closed borders, unemployment levels have soared and continue to grow leading to poverty becoming the dominant problem at the moment. For the tourist industry, many businesses have had to close up and the results of this can be very damaging to a lot of people.


Community life has struggled. Madagascar follows a traditional approach socially and for some male guides, this is the first time seeking financial support from other family members – something they never thought they would have to do. There has not been a lot, if any, financial support from the government to the communities and this is beginning to take its toll. Lockdown has not been good for Madagascar as a country, and for the Malagasy people.


On the other hand, when lockdown began there was essentially a time for areas to ‘breathe’ and have a break from high quantities of tourists. But as the months have gone on, this ‘time to breathe’ has stopped and the need for tourism has become desperate. This means that there are underlying positives, however the negatives definitely outweigh the positives.


Plans for getting the tourism industry back on the rise include increasing the number of smaller airlines for domestic flights. This will enable people to travel within the country at a cheaper cost to the economy. As well as this, decreasing the cost of flight tickets will allow tourists to visit Madagascar with more ease. In the meantime, Madagascar will continue to maintain roads, tourist sites, hotels and other accommodation centres in order to prepare for when tourists are able to visit once again.


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