Tidbits of things that captivate my attention

What keeps me moving forward



tracking madagascar-related keyword through google in times of success/crisis

Those last months, madagascar  has seen an increased interest through the results of internet search engines if we consider the following result from Google trend on the keyword “madagascar”

madagascar google trend
madagascar google trend

We can note a huge rise of the  interest beginning november 2008, mainly because of the cartoon “Madagascar 2 -escape to africa“. However, we can see from this picture that this interest has drastically  fallen in january 2009 as the movie’s effect also dropped.

Unfortunately, Madagascar (the country) is facing now a huge political crisis since the end of january 2009- and we can see from the graph here that a relatively small (compared to the cartoon effect) interest has risen on the internet mainly due to the crisis that is happening now in the country.

Although the national DMO  will continue to promote madagascar destination, and will keep on participating on international trade shows [fr] in order to reassure tourists we expect tough times for madagascar for the tourism industry for these next months.

I’ll be interested to have readers’s view/input on how to use social media in order to overcome crisis.Feel free to share your experiences/findings …


Madagascar: New York Times 38th recommended place to go in 2009

The well-known New York times has ranked Madagascar as their 38th recommended place to visit in 2009 (out of 44 places in the world). This may go against the previsions I’ ve made stating that 2009 will see less US tourist for Madagascar . This is a well-done job for any entity promoting Madagascar destination.

new york times ranking
new york times ranking

This is an opportunity for me to invite you to “recommend” Madagascar destination to your contacts

ITB Berlin 2009: ideas to leverage Web 2.0 tools for trade show exhibitors

ITB Berlin- March 2009(one of the world’s leading travel trade show):  some lucky bloggers will have a press pass in order to cover the event provided they leverage the major Web 2.0 tools during the event- those tools are mainly:

– blogging often DURING the event – giving their readers insights to this worldwide recognized event for the tourism industry,

– podcast and vidcast: audio/video are encouraged to be published online for people to listen to/watch it from different devices (iPod, multmimedia players, computers, …)

– micro-blogging via twitter: many people  consider Twitter as a waste of time-I was part of this group until I decided to play the game too and become almost addicted to it :-). But considering that Phocuswright (a well-recognized online travel industry research) and the consortium of travel-related bloggers Tips from the T- list (BTW, if you haven’ t done it yet, I highly encourage you to download and read this Tips from the T list book-which is free- but where you can find a “condensé” of advices from recognized travel 2.0 bloggers all over the world) consider it as a requirement for a blogger to be given a pass proves that twitter is  a tool to consider for covering such events.

Now what’s the point for Madagascar (the country)?

For the delegation that will go to ITB Berlin, or for our national DMO (Office National du Tourisme de Madagascar), I’ d  suggest they do the following:


* from now (January 18th): create a twitter account and clearly indicate on your profile that you are from Madagascar preparing Madagascar’s participation to ITB, have people follow you on twitter

* get in touch with potential bloggers/journalists that will come to ITB. Have those people follow you on Twitter and do the effort of updating your tweets regularly. You can give them insights or excerpts of what you’re going to do before as teasing or as a PR efforts in the view of having a wider “media” coverage for the participation to the event, or in the view of attracting more people to Madagascar’s booth during the trade show

* publish on youtube or dailymotion the promotional videos you are planning to bring to the event,

* gather all the brochures of Madagascar’s participants and upload it on scribd (I’ ve already covered this topic on “how to give an online life to your brochure”), then motivate all your participants, as well as your contacts to spread the word about it through every channel (for example through connections on any social networks that they are member of : on facebook, flickr, wayn,…)


* increase the number/frequency of your tweets that may announce some events that will happen on Madagascar booth,

* take photos/videos  and directly upload it for people to share it

While hints I’ m giving here are not exhaustive, you may consider having a look at “Trade Show insights”, which I particularly find useful for exhibitors to get used to as they deal with actual experiences

I’ ll also be intersted to discover other ways from you (readers of this blog) about how to leverage Web 2.0 tools for trade show exhibitors…

What matters most: exposure or targeted customers for Madagascar?

Reading one of the many stories behind the coming out of the second Madagascar cartoon movie [fr] I can’t help but question myself about what Madagascar is really expecting from all those exposures. Is it only about branding and expecting that someone will decide to come, or can we turn it into a more target-oriented marketing effort.

Let’s consider three major events that are expected to drive exposure for Madagascar.

–  Madagascar-escape 2 africa: the soon-to-be a major hit … Every tourism operator is expecting a lot from this movie. But expecting what? Everybody agrees that it will give a huge coverage for Madagascar. Lot of people also think that the cartoon does not depict the actual Madagascar. I am not sure the second cartoon will try to “correct” this. In fact, I am not sure what kind of tourist will be attracted by this cartoon to come to Madagascar: is it the kid who barely wants to explore more about Madagascar than what is depicted in the cartoon (and who will assimilate Madagascar to all the marketing goodies that goes along with the promotion of this cartoon: figurines, playing cards, T-shirts, games, …). Is it about the journalists- and their readers- that will give their critique about the movie? …  Frankly, I’m a bit lost when I want to find a answer that goes beyond “that’s a huge publicity for Madagascar”. I am even tempted to ask, if this cartoon will give a good coverage for the “Madagascar (the name)”, will it reflect what Madagascar tourism operators wants Madagascar (the island) to be perceived as?

South africa 2010- football world cup: yes, that’s a huge opportunity, and Madagascar is only 3 hours flight from Johannesburg. All the aficionados of football will come to support their team and have fun.  At least, this time we have a clear profile of the tourist that will possibly come , we also have a rough estimation of  journalists that will cover this event (2000)… We also know that the national tourism office is negotiating to have South-African tour operators to include Madagascar in the circuits they propose.That seems to be a more target-oriented approach and I personnaly think now is already the time for TO to seduce those probable customers.

– African Union summit 2009 hosted by Madagascar: yet another exposure opportunity for Madagascar. Although this is not about tourism, we expect to have a lot of journalists covering the event, and also making special reports on different aspects of Madagascar- the hosting country. I personally think that Madagascra definitely need to leverage on one part of Web 2.0 (user generated content) in order to give different (or same) point of view of what is going to be reported during this event. But this time again, from the tourism perspective,  do we have a clear idea of who are we targeting? Is it the delegations that are going to come here? Or is it only about brand (Madagascar) management

Now the question is: how to get the most out of those events to attract tourists?

Why I don’t recommend hosting your Website in Madagascar

This post will not make most of people in the ISP business happy, but let’s face it: for a tourism business (whose target customer is abroad), hosting his website in Madagascar is not the best choice for providing the best web experience to its users. Let’s make it clear: I am talking about hosting the website abroad, this does not necessarily mean that you can’ t have a .MG domain name while still hosting your website on a datacenter abroad.

Let’s consider the facts:

What is the offer in Madagascar?

– most of the providers will charge you by the space you use for your website with limited technology choice. Some will eventually let you host a whole server. But whatever the choice you go for, you’re left on your own when it comes to maintenance (updates, monitoring, backup) … and you have to be technically knowledgeable about all those techies-thing in order to be able to provide good service to the visitors of your website… which is more than a full-time job of one person

– the scheme local ISP opted for focus on a higher bandwidth for download (getting files from the internet) rather than upload. This model is now obsolete with the rise of peer-to-peer (and related) technologies as each ISP customer that uses peer-to-peer software is a small “server” for uploading/downloading files

– web hosting is not the main/core competency of an ISP

So where to host your website if not in Madagascar?

A lot os specalized data centers exist nowadays. Their main advantages is that web hosting is their core business. Though, they provide better services (24/7 hotline, redundant network infrastructure, daily backups, …), and most of them has scripts that automatically installs different tools/CMS (content management system). Besides that, having only one contact for domain name, e-mail features and web hosting is ver convenient. Finally, their pricing is outrageously cheap (beginning from 2€/month, serious hosting cost around 7$/month )

So now, for our tourism business, this time, at least, you can benefit from superior services without necessarily paying more than the local offer.

Don’ t take what I’m writing for granted, here are more reading for you:

– example of webhosting providers: siteground (with automatic installation of standard tools like joomla, wordpress, or e-commerce suites ),

other criterias for chosing a web hosting provider

So now, it’ s up to you to decide the kind of online presence you want to go for.

Madagascar the movie… the second tsunami is coming

ok, this is not a scoop, neither is it an unexpected news … November 7th, the second of a series for the Madagascar movie (escape 2 africa) will be in theater … and it already begins to make a buzz on the internet.

Watching the trailer, Dreamworks took the same ingredients (yep, they couldn’t eliminate from the casting those cute lemurs), seems like the same song still prevails  (have you ever tried to google for “I like to move it”)

On the first cartoon, Madagascar (the island) was expecting a lot (more than the 500 000USD dreamworks dared to give the island, BTW what has happened to this m oney?) from this worldwide success. Tourism operators anticipated a good coverage of Madagascar… I personally think (a lot of debates has been floating around within Malagasy internet users about it) that this cartoon diminishes Madagascar’s image to the only lemurs … Madagascar operators tried to surf the wave of this first cartoon but I guess we did not get out the best of it.

So now, here we go again for another round.
There’s no time to waste. Well, we are now at the peak-season of tourism in Madagascar so I guess no one really care about strategizing on how to best take advantage of this second worldwide success (because at least, I anticipate people will talk about this cartoon: for good or for bad)…

Nonetheless, let’s try to anticipate what’s going to happen:

– internet will be flooded by the madagascar movie …Even now, try to do a search on the keyword “Madagascar”, you’ll already see signs of the invasion … Is it good or bad? hmmm …It really depends on how we see things. The first time I thought it was bad for Madagascar (the island), but now, I think we can better take advantage of it …Wait and see 🙂

– some purist will try to communicate that “madagascar is an island before it was a movie” … but do people really care? How many times I’ve been introduced to foreigners, and when I say I’m from Madagascar, most of the time the other person says “Waoow, I loved this movie” … What the heck can you reply to it? …

So what’s your view on this? Madagascar (the movie)… is there any good for Madagascar (the island) out there? If yes, how could Madagascar (the island) shine from it?

Madagascar, the “other languages”-way

Back on the saddle again after few days on mute-mode. So now, what’s the point? What the heck am I going to talk about. It’s not that I have no inspiration, but between the ONTM (National Tourism Organisation) that will have its annual assembly to discuss about the tourism sector reform, the “Natural” exhibition at Alliance Française, the peak tourism season (and how difficult it is for us locals to organize our “holidays” as every single place is booked, and it’s not yet time to go adventurous with small kids), and so and so on, one can say that I have the choice for the topics to elaborate about.

Well in this post, I quickly looked for malagasy (or malagasy-connected) websites that deals with Madagascar-travel in other languages than french. Why does it matter? In fact, It is well-known that the majority of tourists coming to Madagascar are French. However, Madagascar is now targeting some new markets, though the recent marketing campaigns towards South Africans (2010 world cup must be behind this, Madagascar is only 3 hours away from Johannesburg) and spanish people.

Okay, let’s see what we have on the plate.

First, Italians: a direct flight from Italy to Nosy-Be already exists now, and we can see some specialized tour operators targeting the italian market. Some of the most visible on the internet are nosy be based company, another nosy-be based tour operator

On the spanish side, we have one website that is worth a visit.

In german, or dutch language, I found this one (I’ll leave to you to appreciate it)

Even if we know that some tour operators are targeting the japanese market, we didn’t find any japanese materials related to Madagascar (the fact that I don’t understand any word in Japanese greatly contributed to this result too 🙂

Unfortunately, most of those websites are initiated by tour operators, which means that they only highlight their offer (which, by definition, only represents a small part of what Madagascar has to offer )

Now, since we are talking about publications, we can’t ignore printed materials. Some resources you should consider:

Amazon’s database of publications on Madagascar

Lonelyplanet country guide

– for french-speaking: “le guide du routard” or “michelin”, or “petit fûté”

– for english speaking people, digging into Wikipedia’s list of travel guide is a good starting point

If you ever want to add to this far from being exhaustive list, feel free to add your comments.

Attirer de l’ IDE autour et dans les réserves foncières touristiques (RFT)

carte réserve

Superficie % surface totale des aires protégées
Parc National : 12279 km² (69,2%)
Parc Marin : 117 km² (0,7%)
Réserve Naturelle Intégrale : 1594 km² (9,0%)
Réserve Spéciale : 3754 km² (21,1 %)
Superficie protégée :
17 745 km²
Superficie protégée % Madagascar : 3%
Limite de Province
Chef-lieu de Province

Source des données : ANGAP
Réalisation et Edition : SIG/ANGAP – Juin 2003

Selon un communiqué paru dans les quotidiens nationaux “le programme… prévoit de présenter aux investisseurs les premières opportunités d’investissement avant la fin de l’année 2008”. Plutôt réjouissant comme nouvelle surtout que, semble-t-il, les organismes oeuvrant dans la préservation des ces réserves sont aussi parties prenantes.

Ramenons cela à notre dada: comment est-ce que le marketing online peut contribuer à attirer des investisseurs dans ce domaine du tourisme à Madagascar. Si nous nous réferrons au plan du tourisme tel que mentionné dans le site de l’EDBM, une présence sur internet se résume à ce simple ligne “Création et vulgarisation de site web.” … C’est déjà bien que le besoin d’être sur le web soit reconnu. Mais j’aimerai inviter les lecteurs à donner leur avis sur les questions suivantes :créer et vulgariser un (ou plusieurs) sites web dans quels buts? Pour quel(s) public cible? Avec quelles ressources? Je pense que vous avez déjà une vague idée de ma réponse (pour ceux qui n’en ont pas la moindre idée: je dis qu’il faut bien plus qu’un site web: qu’il faut élaborer toute une stratégie en ligne …d’où entre autres, les articles que nous mettons sur ce blog qui, nous l’espérons, inspireront les décideurs sur ce qui peut se faire)

Recherche de photos sur Madagascar

En parcourant les statistiques de mon blog, j’ai vu qu’il y avait quelqu’un qui recherchait “madagascar photo video”, puis je me suis dit, pourquoi ne pas apporter des éléments de réponses à notre lecteur.

Prenons d’ abord les photos: bon nombre de sites webs d’ opérateurs touristiques en proposent. Mais la caverne d’ Alibaba pour les photos sur Madagascar demeure … flickr … Et des photos vous en trouverez de toutes les couleurs, provenant des fins fonds de Madagascar … Tantôt pour admirer les “fody mena” (appréciez au passage l’ éclat des couleurs sur cette photo, j’ adore … et ce fody, impérial-magnifique qui semble offrir au photographe son meilleur profil …belle composition …) …. Pour ceux qui sont plus classiques et qui associent Madagascar aux lémuriens, appréciez cette danse des lémuriens

Pour ne pas être taxé de favoritisme envers une seule plateforme, shutterstock n’ en demeure pas moins une alternative à flickr

Quant aux vidéos sur Madagascar: il n’y en a pas des masses, hormis ceux relatifs au dessin animé de dreamworks, ainsi que la version live de la chanson Madagascar effectuée par les Guns ‘n Roses (au fait, ce groupe tire à blanc , ou bien les épines de la rose ont été remplacées à jamais par le velours de Velvet revolver?), ou encore les clips des artistes malgaches…Certes, des initiatives éparpillées sont visibles sur Youtube ou dailymotion mais ne sont pas aussi nombreux qu’ on le souhaiterait …

Au-delà de ces sites généralistes, plusieurs blogs proposent divers photos pour ne citer que l’ odyssée de Tattum (en passant, mes respects à Tattum pour avoir figuré dans la liste des blogeurs “préconisés” par Lonelyplanet … chapeaux bas), ou encore des blogs/sites webs de photographes malgaches pour ne citer que cette photo de Pierrot Men qui semble illustrer que le chemin de la vie est encore long pour cet enfant et que son avenir est loin d’ être ensoleillé … Pourtant l’ enfant avance la tête haute … tout un symbole …Remettez-vous de vos émotions et appréciez les travaux de Sylvain Ralaivaohita (clin d’ oeil à l’ ami en passant) , plus particulièrement ce jeu d’ ombre avec un pneu de pousse-pousse : une autre manière de relater le quotidien des malgaches (ce n’est sûrement pas dans cette optique que l’artiste conçoit cette photo, mais je me permets d’y apporter ma perception des choses)

Nota bene: faites attention à respecter les droits d’ auteurs sur les photos ou vidéos publiées sur Internet … Ne faites pas un simple copier/coller et préférez plutôt les photos publiées sous licence Creative Commons

D’ailleurs, ce billet me fait rappeler une étude sur les tours opérateurs français qui vendent la destination Madagascar et qui se plaignent de ne pas disposer d’ assez de photos en haute définition pour concevoir leurs outils marketing …A votre avis, comment faire en sorte que de telles photos (haute définition) soient collectées et mise à disposition des professionnels du tourisme?

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