Tipping Madagascar

In Europe, tipping in most cases is seen as a token of appreciation, a perk of thanks for services rendered. In Madagascar, it accounts for more than a perk: the tip is for people who work in tourism, an indispensable addition to a low local salary. These people are often unskilled or low-skilled. Work in the tourism sector is often seasonal, and salaries are paid only for the period worked. Moreover, it is likely that a family is living on an income from tourism. A tip therefore usually lands directly in the hands of people who need it the most and they are their families will benefit.

Begging is uncommon in Madagascar, with the exception of large cities Antananarivo, Antsirabe and Fianarantsoa. You may think that giving money to beggars helps solve their problems but the reality is different as all to often they start to rely on these donations.

You may be approached by children asking for pens or manga taka "(gifts). Do not go in for this as it can distrurb relationships and lead to quarrels and problem with levels of respect between locals and tourists. The brief feeling of joy to a child does not outweigh the negative long-term effects. If you really want to help you are better going through a recognized development organization or supporting a local development.

The driver expects a tip for the time he was driving the group around, at least when he has done his job satisfactorily. For the tour guide and the driver a sum of 1 euro per passenger per day is a reasonable tip.
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