Replies: 8 - Last Post: Sep 28, 2013 5:13 PM Last Post By: willpan39
Jun 27, 2013 7:37 PM
Tour OperatorsWe've been talking with a few tour operators. Two operators that appeared decent are not on either the http://www.top-madagascar.com/members.php nor the http://www.go2mada.com/membres.html list, but both claim to have license from the minstry of tourism. They are GMT+3 (Great Madagascar Tours) and DILANN TOURS MADAGASCAR. Since it's not that difficult to construct a decent website, no one can tell if they are reliable only from the communication and website. Can anyone tell us if the two lists are updated? Does anyone know about these two operators? Thanks.
Jun 28, 2013 5:39 AM
what I know and can tell to you is try to ask them clearly about their licence and that's enough! Not all tour operators or travel agencies in Madagascar are member of TOP Assotiation because it is said to me that it's not easy to the new Tour Operators and travel agencies to join this Association as Madagascar is now still in transition and most of those members of the association are belong to Vazaha(foreigners) but not to local Malagasy people.As far as I'm concerned I prefer to use a small local company to keep money go to the local and as most of them are much cheaper for a bugget travellers like me.When you visit a website,try to visit the page ABOUT US of them and you'll get more information.
I'm now traveling with www.madagascar-natural-tours.com and know that they are local and licenced by the Ministry of Tourism but I don't care much if they're member of TOP or not.
Otherwise,it's always good to travel with a real tour company and especially a big one to avoid problems because my travel agent told me that many guides and drivers are organizing trip without licence and they often cause problems to their clients.
Jun 29, 2013 1:31 PM
it is said to me that it's not easy to the new Tour Operators and travel agencies to join this Association as Madagascar is now still in transition and most of those members of the association are belong to Vazaha(foreigners) but not to local Malagasy people.
Also, you would be surprised that a large member of active members of the TOP are Malagasy...feel free to come to a meeting...let me know if you would like to be invited.
Basically, a company which is member of an association will mean that not only they have a licence but they have qualified staffing and experience, a proper office ( not running a business from a cybercafe ) paid the small annual fee ( 100 usd ) and contracted an insurance policy.
The detailed requirements are the following. :
1) Justify that they have a licence:
2) Proof of professional competency of the Manager, Officer or the legal representative of the Company:
a) For a certificate - having served for five years, including three years as an officer, a job in:
- A Tour Operator
- A correspondent of a foreign tour operator
b) A degree higher technician certificate of Tourism, or a license degree equivalent or higher level issued by the State or by an institution recognized by the State and sanctioning tourism, legal and economic studies or commercial, or equivalent professional experience.
3) Staffing and Office:
- In at least two qualified persons
- On the appropriate physical facilities, a suitable room reserved exclusively for the business of TOUR OPERATOR.
Justification of insurance policy against the financial consequences of professional liability with an insurance company or an authorized insurer.
Membership in the Association is 200 000 Ar ( 100 USD ) and the annual fee 200 000 Ar (100 USD )
Jun 29, 2013 7:37 PM
3I need the answer about the service of Great Madagascar Tour. Is it a reliable company? I paid several dollar for the hotel accomodation. Please answer me
Jul 7, 2013 6:48 AM
4Hi brainless, willpan,
The only way you’re going to get answers on specific tour operators is if someone posts who has actually used the operator you’re enquiring about, and even then, you’d need to look at the response carefully, given the amount of spamming that goes on.
As far as posts advertising organisations that a self-identified tour operator belongs to are concerned, you should obviously treat that in the way that you would treat any other advertising, i.e. along the lines of “Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?”
Madagascar is unfortunately afflicted with the problem that afflicts all developing countries that are unable to pay their government servants a decent living salary: it is possible to obtain almost any documentation one needs by offering a judicious payment to the person or persons whose job it is to issue it.
This is done by businesspeople who are entitled to the documents because there is no other way to get them in a reasonable time (or at all). It is also practised by businesspeople who are not entitled to the documents, as this is a more convenient way of obtaining them than taking the steps needed to achieve entitlement.
Any assessment of an organisation that asserts documentary certification needs to be considered in this light.
And in case anyone comes up with the accusation: this is not about knocking Malagasy people – the “West” by cutting off all financial aid since 2009, has made it next to impossible for the Madagascar government to do anything about the problem.
Craig at #2 says: “my travel agent told me that many guides and drivers are organizing trip without licence and they often cause problems to their clients.”
Once again: Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
The point is that some operators with a licence (however they obtained it) also cause problems to their clients, and realistically, a tourist who has only a limited time in the country and needs to get their discount priced flight out has effectively no comeback. Madagascar judicial procedures are slow and time-consuming and conducting a claim in a court or through a Malagasy insurer from your home base is not a realistic proposition.
This among others is one reason why I don’t use travel agents and tour operators but go to the people who actually do the work for me and negotiate a price with them. And as a basic commercial principle, cutting out the middleman usually has benefits for both ends of the transaction. I can also be absolutely sure that my money is going to Malagasy people living and working in the country. I’m also protected by the general principle that you don’t pay (or pay in full) for a service until it has been delivered.
By the way, anyone following the link from #4 to a Tripadvisor page should keep in mind that the British Advertising Standards Authority has found that Tripadvisor should not claim or imply that all its reviews are from real travellers, or are honest, real or trusted, and has ordered it to remove such claims from its UK website.
Jul 8, 2013 9:23 AM
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