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Impact of Ebola on safari bookings?

Ebola Africa Zaire

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164 replies to this topic

#1 Dam2810

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 07:09 AM

Was wondering what the impact is/will be on safari bookings in Southern Africa? Personally I would not cancel a trip in Botswana, Zimbabwe or Tanzania because of the ebola outbreak in West Africa. Would be good to hear from travel agents. 

 

I read on Africageographic:

 

 

 

Thousands are cancelling trips to the big safari hubs like Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa because of the Ebola outbreak, despite the fact that these regions are so distant from the affected areas that saying one is cancelling a trip to South Africa because of an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, is like cancelling a trip to Florida because of an outbreak in Alaska.

 

 

http://www.safaribookings.com/blog/180

 

 

 

The survey showed about half of operators experienced a staggering 20 to 70% decrease in bookings. About a third reported no decrease and has been doing business as usual. 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.

 

http://www.travelwee...nts-hesitating/

 

http://www.telegraph...i-bookings.html


Edited by Dam2810, 04 October 2014 - 07:13 AM.

“Africa’s human and natural resources have been pillaged and plundered for generations by people from far off lands. From slavery to archaeological artifacts, minerals, fauna and flora, the continent and its people have for so long been victims of other continents’ selfish interests, and today it is continuing…our elephant ivory and rhino horn are going to countries where they are used for God knows what! Only to satisfy ridiculous outdated beliefs whilst we remain with carcasses, as proof we once owned these magnificent animals.” President Khama


#2 PT123

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 12:24 PM

I still plan on going to Kenya next year unless something seriously changes.



#3 safariguy

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 12:29 PM

I think it has been shown that my country, the USA, is just as susceptible to ebola than African countries that are far away from those immediately affected in west Africa. But I digress. I was in Kenya 2 weeks ago and some of the management of the lodges I visited told me that they are down about 10% across the board, but the bigger issue is they aren't seeing 2015 bookings. Yet.



#4 Kitsafari

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 12:37 PM

I still plan on going to Kenya next year unless something seriously changes.


Me too.

#5 michael-ibk

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 12:50 PM

Well, I was in Kenya this September, and it was fabolous.

 

I was told in the Mara that bookings were down 40 to 50 %, and even worse at Lake Nakuru. All are fearing the next season because many had long-time-bookings which were not easy to cancel by agencies and clients (without losing money on their end). Met several people who told me they would have liked to cancel but it was not possible. (All expressed their delight that they had not cancelled, btw.) Our own guide told us he had had three10-14 day trips scheduled after us. All of those were cancelled. So, next year could be even worse.

 

Worst hit seem to be the big lodges and agencies going for the first-time or casual safari guests. Smaller, intimate lodges and camps with lots of seasoned, repeat customers or a focus on individual tourists apparently have less of a problem.

 

A friend of mine living in Nairobi told me it´s downright catastrophic at the coast. Tourism has almost totally collapsed there, many have turned to prostituion and criminalism out of despair. Which makes the situation even worse, of course.


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#6 safariguy

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 12:55 PM

40-50%? Wow. That's huge. May I ask what camp(s) you stayed at?



#7 michael-ibk

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 01:19 PM

It was not so at my own camp (Mara Bush Camp, which was fully booked), but the manager there told me that number in regard to all the camps in the reserve, and that it would apply especially to the bigger lodges and camps. Of course I don´t know if these numbers were actually calculated by somebody or if they are just estimates.



#8 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 01:51 PM

That  may be not particularly due to the fear of Ebola? I think for Kenya - it's more the warnings for terror? Safari goers normally plan in advance a little bit and I think the major Ebola scare is only in the recent month or so..... 

 

I was just very recently planning a quick getaway for mid-October;  Had several choices - Tanzania seems to be badly hit too ....... For example., the camps are running good discounts at the moment (high end ones - Asilia etc etc.,) ...... but, the surcharge for flights seemed ludicrous to me.  I was told by my agent that the airlines - Coastal etc etc., were caught off guard and operating flights at a loss and came up with the surcharge (some flights minimum 3 pax)

 

I agree with Michael - I would think some camps in prime locations/small scale camps will tend to be busy.  Rekero; Entim etc etc., always seem to be busy.


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#9 michael-ibk

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 02:08 PM

Of course, Hari, sorry, I forgot about the actual topic of this thread.

 

Much of the situation would be because of the security situation. But Ebola is apparently having a huge effect as well, our guide spoke of "cancellation waves" for September and later.



#10 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 02:12 PM

I agree, Michael ...... Tanzania same story.

For example., I was looking in various options in Tanzania (I wasn't sure if I could travel or not at that point) ....... Towards the end of September there were some dates for October where I was not able to get a room.  When I was finally making actual plans, those dates cleared up!


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#11 RichB

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 09:51 PM

Personally I think it would be crazy to book a long way in advance, as seems to be the norm with safaris. Iam planning my first trip for 2015 but will make a last minute booking a month or so before I plan to go, regardless of some agents telling me everything will be fully booked so I better book now. I will take the risk and book last minute..next year is too uncertain as to what will happen over there, and would safari goers get their deposits back if things did get bad over there..



#12 pault

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 03:53 AM

Personally I think it would be crazy to book a long way in advance, as seems to be the norm with safaris. Iam planning my first trip for 2015 but will make a last minute booking a month or so before I plan to go, regardless of some agents telling me everything will be fully booked so I better book now. I will take the risk and book last minute..next year is too uncertain as to what will happen over there, and would safari goers get their deposits back if things did get bad over there..


@RichB Because of Ebola?

Waiting again... for the next time again


#13 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 03:55 AM

Personally I think it would be crazy to book a long way in advance, as seems to be the norm with safaris. Iam planning my first trip for 2015 but will make a last minute booking a month or so before I plan to go, regardless of some agents telling me everything will be fully booked so I better book now. I will take the risk and book last minute..next year is too uncertain as to what will happen over there, and would safari goers get their deposits back if things did get bad over there..

 

Ah yes ....... for a first time safari - absolutely a great idea!!! It;s Africa and everything is going to feel awesome .............


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#14 Kitsafari

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 04:42 AM

when i was checking rates for Kenya for my Feb trip in the last month or so, i found it odd that despite the agents reporting huge cancellations, i was still quoted pretty high rates. so perhaps @RichB may do well by making a decision at the last minute. 



#15 RichB

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 07:58 AM

I will book my safari maybe 2 months before I plan to go..If that particular safari is fully booked then I will choose another safari..With all the increasing chaos going on in the world now, I feel it is unwise 

and very risky to make a commitment financially to a particular location / safari.

 

Madaboutcheetah : Can you elaborate on your comment ?

Ah yes ....... for a first time safari - absolutely a great idea!!! It;s Africa and everything is going to feel awesome .............



#16 Dam2810

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 08:54 AM

Thank you all for your answers. it is sad for the tourism industry but on the positive side for us, at least we should get nice discounts after years of constant and significant increases. I think it makes sense to book as late as possible. Safarilovers will continue to go to Africa but lots of 1st time goers will probably postpone their plans to visit Africa for a while


“Africa’s human and natural resources have been pillaged and plundered for generations by people from far off lands. From slavery to archaeological artifacts, minerals, fauna and flora, the continent and its people have for so long been victims of other continents’ selfish interests, and today it is continuing…our elephant ivory and rhino horn are going to countries where they are used for God knows what! Only to satisfy ridiculous outdated beliefs whilst we remain with carcasses, as proof we once owned these magnificent animals.” President Khama


#17 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 10:06 AM

@RichB - if it's your first time safari - everything will feel totally mesmerizing when you are on safari. It doesn't matter where you end up going - you are (most likely) to have an amazing time - barring some bizarre instances ........ Once you've been on a few safaris and/or have certain specific interests then you might be picky wrt where you go and what you do so it may make more sense to book in advance to get what you want.


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#18 Safaridude

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 01:27 PM

http://www.npr.org/b...ffe-in-tanzania

 

Here is an excellent article on ebola and traveling to safari countries in Africa.

 

The way I see it… there is an Ebola patient in Texas right now (or two of them perhaps?).  There are none in all the "safari countries" in Africa.

 

The sensible thing to do would be to get the heck out of the U.S. and go on safari.


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#19 Game Warden

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 06:19 PM

Benson expressed his concern that Ebola could be transmitted across borders into Zim via the trucks shuttling between countries. But, everyone I spoke to said that tourism in Zim, and at Vic Falls was increasing exponentially year after year.


"Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you." - African proverb.

 

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#20 Novelectro

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 02:17 PM

Great thread idea.  I am trying to get a group together for next year and Ebola seems to be a popular concern.  Might be tough to get it going next year :(







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Ebola Africa, Zaire


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