Whilst most destinations are able to ascertain what draws most international travellers to their shores, the task in Madagascar, in Kamageo's opinion, is very different.
Different nationalities want differing things from this unique island destination. With a tongue placed firmly in our cheeks and working to stereotypes, we believe the following segments apply :
As a former French colony, the island still attracts larger numbers of visitors from FRANCE. Madagascar's appeal is enhanced by being Francophone, the quality of the locally made croissant and the availability of Le Figaro each morning, in charming chateau-style hotels (not quite Benidorm with it English-speaking, all day cooked breakfasts and The Sun newspaper, but you know what we mean).
The ITALIAN visitors who arrive in their thousands in the summer, disembark from cruise ships and are therefore focused on the coastline and Madagascar's delightful beaches. Excursions are the key ingredient for the cruisers, although their ability to move inland is obvious restricted by timeframes.
Most visitors from THE BENELUX seem to appreciate the island's widely available low-cost accommodation, to combine with what they views as a perfect mix of wildlife, hugely varied landscapes, the pot-pourri of different cultures, and quality beaches to chill-out.
Meanwhile, UK travellers are invariably drawn specifically by Madagscar's unique flora and fauna. Kamageo has widely quoted the priority list as "Lemurs, Lemurs, Chameleons and Lemurs".
Whilst this is obviously hugely simplified it does capture the essence of the island's attraction for UK tourists. The "island continent" concept is well received, allowing visitors to experience so many different landscapes (especially the spiny forest and the awesome baobab trees) and the various cultures.
Increasingly, UK travellers are beginning to see Madagascar as a potential Indian Ocean option, largely driven by the arrival of an increasing number of high-end beach properties. This allows Madagascar to potentially compete with the likes of Mauritius, Seychelles and even, The Maldives - either as a stand-alone, or as with Zanibar and Tanzania, a beach add-on following a traditional Southern African safari. Air access will obviously drive this opportunity.
These differing criteria leads to difficulties in adopting a universal approach to destination marketing, which is obvious more cost effective. But Kamageo believes the island must use different messages in different markets
We believe Madagascar offers huge potential. Its desirability scores sky rocket when unprompted research switches to prompted, which suggests that it is a question of top-of-mindness that needs addressing, more than awareness.
If you'd like to discuss this further, please do contact Tim Henshall, via firstname.lastname@example.org
Kamageo is a UK-based tourism marketing agency, dedicated to Africa. With 20 years experience, we are experts at assessing tourism offerings and consumer segmentation, as well as implementing highly effective marketing communications. Kamageo has already helped significantly increase visitor numbers to a dozen African destinations.