SafariBookings.com, an online marketplace for African safari tours, has conducted a second survey which involved 443 safari tour operators to ascertain the Coronavirus impact on the safari industry. It revealed that almost all tour operators are experiencing a decline of 75% or more in bookings. This is a significant increase compared to the first survey the website conducted at the beginning of March. SafariBookings.com quoted one operator;
“Things are very bad at the moment as the whole world is on lock-down and people are scared to book anything until the fear subsides and this virus is brought under control.”
The second SafariBookings.com survey of 443 safari tour operators has concluded that almost all of them are experiencing at least a 75% decline in business due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a major blow for Africa’s US$12.4 billion¹ safari industry, the wildlife reserves that rely on its revenue and the local people employed in the safari industry.
More than 90% of operators said they had lost at least 75% of bookings they normally rely upon at this time of year.
It’s a devastating blow for local staff, “COVID-19 has really destroyed our business – it came so suddenly, without any warning. We have staff who entirely depend on this industry for their survival.”
Over two thirds of the operators surveyed said that cancellations on existing bookings were up at least 75% while less than 1% said it was business as usual. One Kenyan operator noted,
“We are receiving about 90% cancellations due to COVID-19, and no new booking requests at the moment. We have hit rock bottom.”
Africa’s US$12.4 billion Safari Industry
The US$12.4 billion is based on the 2018 international tourism receipts of the major safari countries in East and southern Africa, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Source: https://unwto.org/country-profile-inbound-tourism
The major safari countries included in this US$12.4 billion are Botswana, Kenya Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The UNTWO did not have data for Zimbabwe. For international tourism receipts per country, the website refers to the UNWTO link above.