New research has revealed that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the African safari industry. Nearly all tour operators have seen a 75 percent decline in bookings. A survey conducted by SafariBookings.com took 443 safari tour operators into account to ascertain the impact of the coronavirus on this sector.
The 75 percent decline is a significant increase as compared to the first survey that was conducted in the beginning of March. One operator explained to BreakingTravelNews: “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.”
Safari industry contributes significantly to the African economy
More than 90 percent of operators have said that they have lost 75 percent of bookings. The safari industry is of major significance to the African economy and is $12.4 billion annually to Africa. This is based on the 2018 international tourism figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
The major safari countries included Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Wildlife watching tourism makes up 80 percent of the total trip sales according to UNWTO research. The total international tourism receipts for these seven countries was US$15.5 billion.