African safaris suffer during lockdown

Posted on 19 August 2020

A lack of international tourists has hit Africa’s tourism industry hard, including safaris. According to a new survey, safaris across the continent have seen an almost two-third decline in their revenue as a result of the lockdown.

The survey by interviewed 344 safari tour operators to try and determine the impact on the industry.

This is the sixth survey done and saw a consistent response that the industry is suffering. Over 91% said they had seen a 75% or above decrease in bookings.

‘We rely on 95% of guests coming from abroad. The high-end market relies on international travel, while SANParks and regional mid- to low-end can currently survive on the South African market,’  Amakhala owner Grant Fowlds said in the survey.

‘We had zero revenue and only kept essential gate guards, anti-poachers and wildlife monitors. Our marketing department virtually shut down, staff were put on Ters and UIF.

‘At this point, most of the permanent employment personnel have been saved through tough lockdown means,’he said.

Although lockdown has opened up to Level 2, this doesn’t solve the international tourism issue and the economic devastation and loss of jobs means locals may not be able to afford to travel to make up this loss.

‘Last year, at this time, we received more than 15 enquiries and around five were converted into bookings, but we have had only two. One declined and another one is pending – but at least we are starting to get enquiries and hope it will be business as usual soon,’ Lazaro Edward executive director of Kwesa Tours in Tanzania said.

Image: @dulabab/Instagram

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