XpatLoop Interview: Michael Horn – Tour Operator, Le Voyageur

  • 12 Jul 2016 9:00 AM
XpatLoop Interview: Michael Horn – Tour Operator, Le Voyageur
Le Voyageur is a tour-operator and travel agency based in Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital, with a Malagasy team and Swiss management, founded in 1997 and member of the Malagasy Association of professional tour operators TOP.

They organize a wide range of fascinating and interesting trips at very competitiv prices: classical roundtrips for individuals or groups, adventure and discovery tours, tropical rainforest walks, beach holidays, mini-cruises, mountain or motorbike tours, bird watching or whale watching, theme tours etc.
Le Voyageur doesn't organize hunting trips, as this is against their philosophy of ecotourism.
The tours may be combined and adapted to your interests.

Learn more about Le Voyageur

Michael Horn was born 14 oct 1963 in St. Gallen Switzerland. Grown up in St. Gallen, did a professional education in electronics, and changed career later into tourism, after some studies. Moved to Madagascar during 1997. Married, three kids (24, 16 and 9 yrs old). Opened the company officially in January 1998.

1. Please tell us about your tour company, when you started and why, what makes it special, and what’s your mission today?

We started to set up the company during 1997, and started officially to be operational at the beginning of January 1998, as I felt that there is a lot that can be done in Madagascar in tourism, and it has a lot of potential. Madagascar is a unique country in many ways, and has besides the incredible fauna and flora also breathtaking landscapes. Our mission today is to be a reliable partner for our clients and to provide a competent service, so that clients will return back home after their trip with beautiful souvenirs and a sparkle in their eyes.

2. When you first visited Madagascar, what surprised and delighted you most?
The big variation of landscapes, and the very cute lemurs, they are such lovely creatures.

3. How has the island positively changed over the years? And why chances would you most like to see in future?
In tourism, quite many new hotels have been built nearly all over the country over the last years. And then in communication, a lot has changed, now, we have mobile phone coverage in many areas of the country and also more and more hotels offer free WiFi to their clients. I now hope that in the near future, there'll be open sky, also on domestic flights, and enough competition, so that we'll have a better service on flights and more seats available on domestic. As for international flight connections, it has improved a lot especially over the last two years, with now Air Seychelles and Turkish Airlines also serving Madagascar three to four times/week . regarding road conditions in Madagascar, some have gotten better but unfortunately others have gotten worse, there's definitely still a lot to do there...

4. Given your experience, what would you say are the less well known qualities of Madagascar?
What is less known is that it has a lot of different landscapes there, and also many different sports are possible, all kinds of water sports, but also mountain climbing, cycling etc. And the locals are friendly and cheerful, and the food is good to delicious, some absolute gourmet restaurants here and there.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose, and why?
I believe that many different countries have beautiful areas and food etc., but if I'd have to choose a country to live in, I'd have to try it out first for three months or so. I would not move to a country for good just because I've seen it for a few days or a week.

6. What was the most adventurous travel trip you have ever taken?
Difficult to say. Maybe river rafting in Thailand? In Madagascar, the most adventurous tour would be trekking up Mamorokotro Mountain, which is the highest mountain in Madagascar, and its really an expedition, but I haven't done it yet. I like it a bit less adventurous, but still some adventure, the trip down the Tsiribihina river, and then visit of the Tsingy of Bemaraha, and then drive to Morondava and mostly along the coast to Toliara, this is a nice adventure, driving through rivers etc., seeing lots of Baobab trees, beautiful beaches with turquoise waters etc.

7. What has been the biggest achievement in your life so far?
The creation of our company, and to make it running well and profitable

8. What is the secret of your personal and business success?
Work hard, try to be better than average, life is too short for average

9. What can’t you resist – please share a guilty pleasure?
A few nice beers on a Friday night.

10. What could you say is your personal motto?
Always take decisions with a long term view.

Click here to see a photo gallery of a trip organised by Michael.

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