If you've searched online for private health insurance that covers expats in Madagascar then you are probably for looking for established UK based health insurance companies that can cover your medical expenses in Madagascar.
Living as an expatriate in Madagascar you want to avoid any unwanted and unexpected health care costs. In some countries these can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds for serious conditions.
Our advice when looking for private medical cover that covers expatriates living in Madagascar is to speak to a insurance broker. Health insurance is very complex and if you want absolute certainty that Madagascar is covered by your policy you should talk with a broker who can explain which providers will cover medical expenses for expatriates in Madagascar and which will exclude it.
There are many advantages to using a insurance broker but the largest by far is that you're using their industry experience at no cost. They are paid by the insurer (Aviva or Bupa etc) rather than by you so it costs you no extra to use their brokering services.
- Do you reside in many different areas? Some will give you a cheaper policy premium than offers. A insurance broker will be able to advise whats best.
- Do you have a hobby that may invalidate your insurance policy? A broker will know this vital information.
- If you are a couple and one of you has claimed on your policy this year would it be cheaper to separate you both onto two different insurance policies?
- You've developed a certain medical condition and want to know which policy provider offers the biggest amount of cover for it. A broker will know this instantly saving you so much time and effort.
You can call around every health insurance provider you can find and ask if they provider cover for expats in Madagascar, however this will be a very time consuming process. Each insurer will ask for your medical history because its not normally a simple yes or not if a medical condition is covered or not.
Its much quicker to speak to one medical insurance broker which will know which providers on the market offer cover for expats in Madagascar and under what terms they do or don't cover it.
Despite a high potential for tourism, tourism in Madagascar is underdeveloped. Madagascar's tourist attractions include its beaches and biodiversity. The island's endemic wildlife and forests are unique tourist attractions. However, historical sites, craftsmen communities, and relaxed cities make it a favorite with return travellers.
Madagascar has been isolated from the African landmass for approximately 165 million years and its flora and fauna evolved in isolation from that time onwards. The island is one of the world's most biologically diverse areas, and is internationally renowned as a wildlife tourism and ecotourism destination, focusing on lemurs, birds, and orchids. More than half of the island's breeding birds are endemic. Other native species include the red-bellied lemur, the aye-aye, and the indri (the largest lemur species).
One of the best places to observe the indri is the Analamazoatra Reserve (also known as Périnet), four hours away from the capital. The presence of the indri has helped to make the Analamazoatra Reserve one of Madagascar's most popular tourist attractions.
Historical sites can be found throughout the country, but mostly in the capital, such as the Royal Palace or Rova in Antananarivo or the sacred hill of Ambohimanga nearby, both Unesco world heritage listed sites. A popular route from Antananrivo to Tulear in the south passes through several towns noted for their handicraft: Ambatolampy (aluminium foundry), Antsirabé (gemstones, embroidery, toys), Ambositra (marquetry), and Fianarantsoa.
312,000 tourists visited Madagascar in 2006. Since 1990, the number of tourists in the country has grown at an average rate of 11% each year. 60% of its tourists are French, who form the majority because of cultural and historical links between the countries, and flight routes. People who are interested in the country's botany, lemurs, birds, or natural history also make up a large part of its visitors. These visitors often travel as part of a tour and stay in the country for a long period of time.
In the mid-1990s, tourism was the country's second largest export earner, bringing in US$50 million annually. For 2007, tourism's contribution to Madagascar's GDP (direct and indirect impact) was estimated to account for 6.3% of GDP and 206,000 jobs (5.1% total employment).
The tourist industry was badly damaged in late 2001 because of a political crisis and following economic recession. The number of tourists in 2002 fell, but the tourism industry subsequently recovered and continued to grow steadily. The highest number of incoming arrivals in Madagascar was recorded in 2008, with 375,000 arrivals. But in 2009 again, a lengthy political crisis affected tourists' arrivals. Only 255,922 tourists set foot in Madagascar in 2012—still an increase of 14% compared to the 2011 numbers. The 2013 figures were again disappointing with 198,816 arrivals—this was an election year, with security issues, notably in Nosy-Be. However, the sector has been growing steadily for a few years; In 2016, 293,000 tourists landed in the African island with an increase of 20% compared to 2015; For 2017 the country has the goal of reaching 366,000 visitors, while for 2018 government estimates are expected to reach 500,000 annual tourists.
There is growing interest in the country as a tourist destination. The country has beautiful landscapes and the cultural resources to support tourism. These resources provide many opportunities for the development of both ecotourism and resort based tourism. Despite its growth, the tourism industry is very small. It is much smaller than those of the neighbouring Seychelles and Mauritius islands, and is the smallest among the islands in the Indian Ocean.
Madagascar's government has promoted tourism as an economic development strategy. With over 70% of the country living in poverty, tourism is seen as a way to reduce poverty and provide economic growth. Tourism is currently the second-largest foreign exchange earner in the country, and the government hopes to increase this share. Still in the early stages of development, there is large potential for the tourist industry to grow as Madagascar's infrastructure improves.
The tourism industry has a number of large challenges. Travel and tourism is poorly diversified, the infrastructure is poor, roads are poorly paved, and airline travel is expensive and unreliable. There are few high quality hotels, and fewer that meet international standards; Madagascar has approximately 550 hotels, about 110 of which have been classified as meeting international standards.
One of the main actors who help the development of tourism in Madagascar is the Ministry of Tourism of Madagascar and also the National Tourism Office of Madagascar. In addition to these two major players in tourism, regional offices have also been placed in the ranks of cities in the country to contribute to the development of tourism in each of their localities. Aside from that, there are numerous travel agencies that organize tours throughout the big island, the most well-known of which is Natura Travel.