Responsible tourism: Madagascar tour, land of the lemurs
A focus for any visit to Madagascar must be the parks and forests of the area and the many endemic species that inhabit them. Among these is the Anja Reserve home to over 300 ring-tailed Lemurs. The area is run and protected by the local village and income from entrance fees goes directly to fund the local school. At Isalo National park, tourists are offered the opportunity to participate in a tree plantation scheme.
In and around Antsirabe, we visit many local craftsmen including a workshop where toys are made out of recycled cans and plastic. We explore the area by bicycle instead of car. Travelling by bike brings tourists closer to the local people, affording them the opportunity to stop in villages and enjoy the peace and natural beauty of the landscapes with minimal environmental impact.
In Ifaty, there is the opportunity to hire pirogue from local fishermen to visit the coral reef. The fishermen know the sea well, and by benefiting from tourism, it becomes in their interest to protect the reef in order to maintain business from tourism.
Both ourselves and our local partner in Madagascar are committed to giving back to the local communities that we visit on our tours. On this tour, we utilise many local businesses for accommodation, food and transport, as well as visiting local businesses, ensuring that money from tourism goes back to the community; In Larintsena, we visit a village where locals in every house host tourists to stay overnight or have lunch. We visit local crafts workshops in and around Antsirabe, including a women’s cooperative, where tourists are able to buy authentic, fair-trade souvenirs and money goes directly to the small businesses, further benefiting the entire community. Local businesses and suppliers are always used where possible, to ensure not only excellent service, and the opportunity for visitors and locals to meet and exchange ideas, but also insuring that money generated from tourism stays in the communities, giving them further incentives to protect the area for future visitors.