Madagascar, UNWTO and ITC Partner On Tourism to Boost Economic Growth

Four-year project aims to provide sustainable and inclusive economic growth by scaling up Madagascar's tourism potential.

The International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Meteorology of Madagascar have committed to working together on an inclusive and sustainable tourism project for the country.

The three partners have agreed to jointly mobilize resources, estimated at up to US$ 4 million, to implement the project, which will be carried out over four years. An agreement was signed by ITC and Madagascar on the sidelines of the World Export Development Forum taking place in Doha, Qatar.

The project aims to position Madagascar in the niche tourism market, using the sector as an engine for sustainable growth of local communities who will actively participate and benefit.

With its rich and unique flora and fauna, Madagascar is one of the world's major hotspots for biodiversity. Its long coastlines are ideal for water sports, and its cultural heritage - including three UNESCO sites - and traditional crafts all hold enormous potential for scaling up tourism to the island.

'Tourism as a services export is extremely important for least developed countries such as Madagascar. Tourism has an enormous development potential and we excited about working with ITC and UNWTO on achieving the tourism potential of Madagascar,' said Jacques Ulrich Adriantana, Madagascar's Minister of Tourism, Transport and Meteorology.

Job creation and economic growth

Currently, the tourism industry directly contributes to nearly 6% of Madagascar's gross domestic product (GDP) and indirectly to almost 15% of GDP. Employment in the sector is expected to rise at an annual rate of 3%, creating 318,000 jobs by 2019.

The project sets out to help build a branding strategy for Madagascar and conduct an economic analysis of the country's economy to define its main strengths and weaknesses with a view to improving the business environment.

It will also help conceptualize new circuits for tourists; put in place a new, inclusive development model in parallel to a participative environment conservation strategy and elaborate and disseminate a guide for good practices for sustainable tourism.

ITC and UNWTO will be conducting a wide variety of training activities for people across the sector, including on management, tourism development policies and branding.

'Improving the competitiveness of the tourism sector in Madagascar will lead to concrete growth opportunities for the country and creation of new jobs, said ITC Executive Director Arancha González.

'By improving the performance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the sector, this partnership will build capacity along the value chain and create a strong and robust tourism offer for Madagascar,' she added.

Source: eTN