The number of tourists visiting Madagascar jumped 16 percent in the first half of this year from a year earlier.

The number of tourists visiting Madagascar jumped 16 percent in the first half of this year from a year earlier, data has shown, helped by a more stable environment as the Indian Ocean island emerged from a two-year political crisis.

The National Institute of Statistics said 100 692 visitors had taken their holidays on the island, generating $71.9 million (R510m) for the ailing economy in the first half.

Madagascar’s tourism industry is a key source of foreign exchange for the country. Popular with French and Italian visitors, the sector took a battering in 2009 after images of anti-government protests that paved the way for a coup, were beamed around the world.

Madagascar expects a rebound in tourist numbers this year to levels last seen before the crisis, forecasting 255 000 arrivals. – Reuters