SafariBookings.com, an online marketplace for African safari tours, conducted a survey among 500 safari tour operators to measure the impact of the Ebola crisis on the safari industry. The survey showed that about half have experienced a staggering 20 to 70% decrease in bookings. The impact is more noticeable in East than in southern Africa. It is a heavy blow for the industry and the numerous wildlife reserves that rely on its revenue.
Tour operators reported that many tourists view Africa as a single country when it comes to risk assessment. They don't realize that East and southern Africa, where most safaris are conducted, are just as far from the outbreak area as Europe or South America. The Ebola virus is not airborne and only spreads if people come in contact with the bodily fluids (such as blood, sweat and saliva) of an infected person. As there are no confirmed Ebola cases in any major safari countries, the current risk is very low.
All safari countries observe strict precautionary measures, comparable to countries in Europe and North America. Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Zambia have banned entry of travelers from Ebola affected countries. Tanzania and Uganda have implemented health screening at all major airports and border posts. Zimbabwe implemented 21-day health surveillance for travelers from affected countries.
The overall low risk and strict precaution measures taken by the safari countries make the negative impact on the industry quite unnecessary and unfortunate.
For the full survey report please visit www.safaribookings.com/blog/180