Measured optimism. Doubled by an understandable pragmatism in Johann Pless, president of the Board of Directors of the Federation of hoteliers and restaurateurs of Madagascar on the evolution of post-health crisis tourism.
What can we deduce from the high tourist season?
Thanks to the effective opening without any barrier from mid-August 2022 and, once again we thank the authorities, we can welcome tourists in normality, with good conditions on departure and arrival. That said, the 2022 high season or even the season has not started. We have several months before reaping the benefits of these good measures for the sector. We understand travel agencies and tour operators, programming and selling is done between three and six months, so the season will start as early as the first quarter of 2023 and will be at its peak in July 2023. In any case, we hope so and that’s what we expect.
As a reminder, we announced this date in June 2020, according to our prospective analyses.
The joint work that we are developing with our supervisory ministry is extremely important and is bearing fruit. Of course, all operators are on the starting blocks and want to work normally as soon as possible. We can be a little impatient but it is important to remember that for twenty seven months we lost everything.
We will therefore be very happy to post very good occupancy rates nationwide in mid-2023, we will still have to hold out until then. We should note that the resumption of work is very disparate, very intense in Antananarivo, intense in Nosy Be and Mahajanga, a little less in other regions. What we all want is a national recovery and recovery and we are working on it hand in hand with the Ministry of Tourism. All of this is very positive.
Has the recovery strategy put forward by the ministry met the expectations of operators?
The strategy is developed with the private sector so it will effectively meet the expectations of the THR sector. We are now in the recovery phase, the recovery will be for 2023. We have major challenges to solve together. The Ministry of Tourism effectively manages our sector but we cannot and must not ignore air transport; we need more planes, more rotations, more international and national companies and more issuing countries. While supporting Tsaradia and Madagascar Airlines, we should have more competitive, denser and more accessible air links. Our road network is also important and must be maintained. Security is also a point that we should support as a private sector and pay particular attention to.
More generally, the destination must become more accessible, more competitive and more attractive. We are therefore working with the Ministry of Tourism to achieve an inclusive roadmap that converges with the interests of all and as a priority for Malagasy people – from the sector or not – throughout the territory. We will get there by working together.
Does the Madagascar destination have visibility on the world tourism market?
Yes. In order to be always more visible, we must be more accessible. More airlines, more rotations and fewer barriers, abandoning visas or “entry processing fees” for a few years.
We talk about digitization at all levels, we talk about accessibility and fast and efficient communication, why not apply these innovations to tourism?
What are these assets to promote?
We have a lot of varied products to offer. We have over 6,000 km of beaches and stunning islands with great hotels. We have incomparable kite surfing spots. Apart from this seaside concept, we also have specific circuits by region. To mention only the hikes in the outskirts of the capital and its surroundings, the descent of the Tsiribihina, the Tsingy de Bemaraha, visits to protected areas and national parks, nature sanctuaries… On another register, we are the only country in Africa to offer our culinary products and our gastronomy in the broad sense. Foie gras, duck breast, zebu, lobster, caviar, vanilla, spices, prawns… So many flavors to taste without moderation. .
Tourism activities need specialized employees. In number and quality of training, did we have enough?
We do indeed have training programs to develop further, but yes we have enough young and not so young people to work in Tourism-Hotels-Restaurants, THR. Perfect in trades. .
How many members does FHORM have?
We have 306 active members, seventeen years of experience, 16,200 seats, 7,000 rooms and 7,900 direct jobs. We are the privileged interlocutor of the authorities in terms of accommodation and catering because we contribute to no less than 70% of tax receipts and tourist stamps.
How to join?
All hotel and restaurant professionals can join FHORM. Here are the conditions. Have between 2 and 4 rooms maximum for guest houses, have 06 rooms at least for hotels, present 20 covers for restaurants and tables d’hôtes, be legally constituted (Authorization to open, NIF, STAT, etc.) , pay the membership fee for the first year (the equivalent of one year’s contribution), pay the annual contribution, the amount of which varies according to the categories considered. .
What are the advantages ?
We are the privileged interlocutor of the authorities in terms of accommodation and catering because we represent +70% of tax receipts and vignettes. As such, we carry the voice of hoteliers and restaurateurs both to the public and the private sector. We defend the rights of our members. We develop their competitiveness and develop training in the sector.