Madagascar Unrest Devastates Tourism

TOLIARA ~ Madagascar’s political unrest has left the once-booming tourist industry facing ruin as tour operators turn their backs on the Indian Ocean paradise.

“It’s as if the electricity was cut off. Everything has stopped,” said Maueze Popat, a resort owner in Toliara, a popular spot on the Indian Ocean island’s southwestern coast.

Several hotels are empty after anti-government protests erupted in the capital Antananarivo last month, leaving around 100 people dead, after the city’s sacked mayor accused President Marc Ravalomanana of starving his people.

Goa Feels Pinch of Recession

ANJUNA ~ A double-whammy of the global economic turmoil and Mumbai terror attacks has hit the usually bustling Indian resort of Goa hard as a disappointing winter tourist season draws to a quiet close.

Others point to the death of a British teenager whose body was found on a beach in the former Portuguese colony a year ago this week for affecting visitor numbers, shedding light on a murky subculture of sex, drink and drugs.

About 2.7 million tourists from India and abroad came to tiny Goa state last year, enticed by sun, white sand and a dusk-to-dawn party atmosphere, bringing in more than US$180 million in revenue to the local economy.

‘No Danger’ for Stuck Cruise Ship

BUENOS AIRES ~ A Bahamas-flagged cruise ship stuck in ice in the Antarctic with more than 100 people on board is in “no danger” and is going to try to free itself, the Argentine navy said this week.

The Ocean Nova, a 73-meter-long Danish-built and -crewed vessel, was stuck near the McClary Glacier in sight of an Argentine research base.

A Spanish oceanographic ship, a transport ship and an Argentine plane have been sent to lend assistance if required, the Argentine and Chilean navies said.

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