257,000 Annual Visitors*
It seems the word is getting out on Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world, but one of the most difficult to visit. In one year, the island saw an increase of 2,000 visitors — and it’s not hard to understand why.
This island destination is a haven for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife aficionados looking to interact with extraordinary creatures like the lemur and rare species of frogs, turtles, sharks and whales. Astonishingly, 92 percent of Madagascar’s mammals and 95 percent of its reptiles exist nowhere else on Earth.
Adventurists can get their thrill by enjoying off-road driving, kite surfing and diving, while those seeking peace and quiet can head to the country's pristine (and rarely visited) national parks, including Tsingy de Bermaraha, known for its unique limestone forests.
For visitors, Madagascar still presents a challenge, with rare flights costing a pretty penny and roads that are still nearly impossible to drive. But those willing to make the trek will be richly rewarded.
*Note: All visitor counts are as of 2018, per the UN World Tourism Organization's 2019 "International Tourism Highlights" report.
At the time of publication, there were many nations that were still determining their annual tourism numbers, so some destinations on this list may shift.
Destinations classified as countries in the UNWTO report that are overseas territories are noted as such in the text.