Tourist operators in Madagascar predict the slaughter of “small tourist operators”, these small hoteliers, restaurateurs or tour operators who could not withstand the crisis. While waiting for better days, each resists in their own way and prepares for return, no matter how remote the tourists are.
as reported from Farafangana,
In 17 years of existence, the tour operator “Always Madagascar” had never had as many reservations as for 2020. Covid-19 commits to, 90% of its tours have been canceled. But several customers have already announced that they are postponing their trip until 2021. A breath of fresh air for Solofo Rakotondrabesa, co-founder and driver guide for the agency, who is taking advantage of this forced break to explore the prospects for next season.
An hour out for spotting
“The rates for double bungalows,” he asks. “50,000 ariary,” he replies. “Are they solar heaters?” Mosquito nets on all beds? “He continues. To these two questions, the owner of the room nods.
“I have just made a reconnaissance of a hotel located in Farafangana, a hotel that must have existed for a long time, but which we did not know, to see if it can suit our customers,” explains Solofo Rakotondrabesa. I compare, I visit the rooms, I ask for the prices. In fact, I write everything down, I take pictures of the rooms, the bathrooms, the menu and from there I will suggest to the customers and they will tell me if they want to stop there. ”
For the chairman of the board of the Federation of Hoteliers-Restaurateurs of Madagascar, Johann Pless, also the owner of several tourist centers, the flexibility of recent weeks has revealed new realities.
The deco-financing measures and the lifting of the curfew in Tana and in the national territory have helped us to bring back the light in the various CHR companies, ‘Cafés-Hotels-Restaurants’. On the other hand, we note that customers are not there “that the buying action and the average basket have dropped dramatically and that our customers are not necessarily able to go out as often as before and use. just as much as before Covid.”
Survivors today are leading these hoteliers and restaurateurs to a new battle: especially getting paid for water and electricity bills in the months of April to October.
“Many say to us, ‘When you’re in the middle of a crisis, you can innovate.’ I do not agree at all with this way of looking at things. I believe that when we ruin jobs, lose all our savings, our treasuries, that we have to go into debt, and that we do not have financial support from the State, this is not the time when we can reinvent ourselves, this is not true. There we are in a phase of resilience. Resistance above all else, ”he concludes.
However, if the state granted deferral of tax, employer and social deadlines to the “tourism sector”, it did not provide direct financial assistance. And this despite the $ 650 million in support paid by international donors, at the height of the pandemic.
International flights have just resumed in early October at the destination only from Nosy Be. The date of the total opening of the country’s borders remains a mystery carefully maintained by the head of state.