tourism is an important aspect of madagascar’s economy

This became even more clear as the restrictive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in recent years. The lack of tourism led to an increase in unsustainable activities within and around national parks and other protected areas. Without visitors, many communities dependent on tourism resorted to other activities (sometimes illegal) to provide for their families.

Going forward, ecotourism may be one of the best hopes for Madagascar to improve the standard of living for its people.

Responsibly managed ecotourism can generate revenue and employ local people without causing significant environmental damage. And because ecotourists pay to see a country’s wildlife and natural places, it provides a direct incentive to conserve the environment.

Ecotourism can help assign a tangible value to an ecosystem, and most ecotourists are willing to pay directly for conservation in the form of park entrance fees and hiring guides. Ecotourism can also help areas that do not have formal protections from exploitation of natural resources.

Wildlife Madagascar seeks to establish a sustainable ecotourism program that will develop alternative livelihoods for community members and bring in funds to support conservation efforts.

To ensure that benefits are produced for conservation,
the program will be designed to meet the following criteria:

Ability for those responsible for the ecotourism site to design and implement sustainable tourism solutions consistent with the community’s and protected area’s objectives

Tourist fees must be structured so that they cover the operating costs of protecting the forest

Revenues collected must be directed to the conservation of the forest, with any surplus being directed to other conservation efforts in the area.

Wildlife Madagascar’s ecotourism program will
provide key benefits for conservation, including:

Delivering a source for financing conservation efforts, including salaries for local community members

Providing economic justification for forest protection

Reducing exploitation of forest resources and wildlife

Building partnerships to promote conservation

Providing an impetus for involvement of international funders.