Large crowds of tourists visiting Madagascar have already found Andasibe, a biodiversity hotspot at a convenient distance from the capital Tana and international airport, and national parks and private forest reserves around it.
Local people living close to Torotorofotsy, a wetland designated of international importance under Ramsar Convention, have hope that tourists will find this unique site, too, which is located only half an hour drive from Andasibe village. Torotorofotsy is home for numerous bird and frog species, surrounded by distinct flora, characteristic to one of the last intact mid-altitudinal marshes in Madagascar.
Association Mitsinjo, the local partner of Finnish Association for Nature Conservation in Madagascar, and Asity, Malagasy origin environmental NGO and current manager of site, are working together to ease the access to visit the wetland and improve the services around it to attract more tourists to visit the site in the future. Visiting tourists would bring highly needed new income possibilities for local people and help the locals to understand the importance of this unique ecosystem and its rare, endemic species.
So far, the development of eco-tourism has mainly consisted of planning and negotiations that are required to be made carefully due to the official protection status of Torotorofotsy. By the end of this year, the construction will finally begin: duckboards, observation deck and tower are built, and information boards are put on place to answer better the needs of visiting tourists. Also, camp site is planned to be build to provide a place for visitors to stay overnight. In addition to construction work, participation of local people in decision making and environmental education remain as the core activity to ensure the sustainable development of region.
We hope to share some good news and process of construction work during following months on blog and our Facebook page (FANC Madagascar) so we hope you to continue to follow us!
Got interested to read more? More information of Torotorofotsy available on Association Mitsinjo´s website: https://associationmitsinjo.wordpress.com/torotorofotsy-ramsar-site/
Ecotourism development is part of project Torotorofotsy, a development cooperation project of Finnish Association for Nature Conservation FANC, and its local partners in Madagascar. The project objectives to protect Torotorofotsy wetland are achieved using variety of methods, including promoting the use of sustainable and diverse farming methods, raising the awareness of environmental issues by environmental education, and improving the possibilities for alternative, sustainable income methods e.g. eco-tourism and producing handicrafts using natural materials.
Text and photos: Laura Blomberg / project coordinator at FANC