Dam2810

Impact of Ebola on safari bookings?

165 posts in this topic

it is just in west Africa and likely to stay there

 

perhaps some people are being over cautious, something which does not apply to Bali after 2 tourist targetted terrorist bombings

 

great analysis Inyathi

Its in The USA and the other day the media said it would soon be in Europe/UK, and low and behold its now in Spain..Strange how they know where its going next..But dont worry our Govts will always look after us.. :lol:

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Cosmic Rhino-I just had this conversation a few days ago. Told a man I was going to Botswana & Namibia next Feb. He said 'oh I wouldn't be going there'. I asked where he was going- BALI. I suggested I'd be a lot safer than he :)

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it is just in west Africa and likely to stay there

 

perhaps some people are being over cautious, something which does not apply to Bali after 2 tourist targetted terrorist bombings

 

great analysis Inyathi

Its in The USA and the other day the media said it would soon be in Europe/UK, and low and behold its now in Spain..Strange how they know where its going next..But dont worry our Govts will always look after us.. :lol:

 

There was a radio report on the BBC this morning assuring us that we were well protected and had nothing to fear because the authorities had prepared a 'sophisticated algorithm'

 

Well that's Ok then. :rolleyes:

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So how are operators and properties reacting? Are we seeing an increased number of special offer incentives to try and win back those who are concerned? Or are they being slow to react? How will say the larger operators be affected compared to the smaller independents? Those which have already suffered in Kenya for instance due to negative media coverage of the terrorism situation? If you are an operator / camp owner / manager etc, I'd welcome your input here on this topic and share with us how the ebola media coverage is affecting your business.

 

Matt

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/09/345871678/you-wont-catch-ebola-from-a-giraffe-in-tanzania

 

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

 

Very good article, thanks! This combined with @inyathi's excellent points ought to allay many fears. (Especially for those of us who have to explain to family members that yes, we're still going on safari!)

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/09/345871678/you-wont-catch-ebola-from-a-giraffe-in-tanzania

 

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

 

Very good article, thanks! This combined with @inyathi's excellent points ought to allay many fears. (Especially for those of us who have to explain to family members that yes, we're still going on safari!)

 

Ah Marks-exactly. I have yet to tell my elderly parents I am going to Africa again. They will be overly concerned as they always are, even without the Ebola outbreak, and the less time they have to worry, the better!! I wonder if I can tell them the day before & just say I forgot <_<

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Inyathi - many thanks indeed for a really detailed, well researched and totally sane assessment of the current Ebola crisis. You have said all that needs to be said.

 

The truth is that whilst devastatingly sad for the people and 3 countries where the virus is out of control, there really is next to no risk in traveling to the large majority of Africa.

 

As a tour operator, many of our guests have expressed concern, largely due to the media hype - luckily none have cancelled as yes, but we are down on new enquiries. especially to East Africa. Africa and it conservation needs all the support it can get right - this latest deterrent is very unfortunate.

 

Africa has always engendered many phantom fears in the minds of the uninformed - Ebola is taking centre stage right now.

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Thanks for a sane and thoughtful post Rob (@inyathi)

 

It seems that every time there is a crisis somewhere in the world the one thing we learn is that people's geography is woeful.

Most of Europe is closer to Sierra Leone and Liberia than Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa.

 

Don't people understand that Africa is a continent - and a vast one at that, not a country.

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I think we have alot more to fear in the USA,Australia and the UK than Africa..

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Inyathi - I echo what others have said about your excellent assessment of the current Ebola crisis. Our experience as a tour operator is similar to Michael Lorentz, we have had no cancellations but I would say that new enquiries are quieter than normal. I will be travelling to Zimbabwe in a couple of weeks and I was just rather dumbfounded to hear my mother asking if I was still intending to travel - this is despite apparently reading a couple of excellent articles posted on our website which demonstrate we are actually geographically closer to the Ebola crisis in London! I of course told her that I would be safer in Zimbabwe than in the UK! During an evening out recently one of my friends (who has never been to Africa) seriously asked me if I knew anyone with the Ebola virus. It strikes me that the media drives people into a frenzy of fear and they then remain totally blinkered on the subject if they don't already have a better knowledge of Africa. My personal view is that we should all get on with our lives and continue to book safaris for next year. If for any reason the analysis is wrong and Ebola has gone globally viral by next year I think we will all have bigger things to worry about than a cancelled safari.

 

Deviating slightly this situation reminds me of an American couple who shared our game drive vehicle when I first met Benson in 2001. They were on their first safari and were clearly terrified of all the dangers of Africa generally and wild animals in particular. After 3 game drives they were convinced they were going to die and insisted on camp management amending their bookings so they could return to the US that day, cancelling the rest of their safari. It was too dangerous for them in Africa. Ironically they flew to Johannesburg on 9/11 and would probably still have been there 2 days later when we flew home at the end of our safari. Sorry to remind people of the tragic events of that day but the irony of the couple having departed Africa as it was too dangerous - when actually their home country at that moment was a far more dangerous place has stayed with me. As others have said our sympathies at this time should be with those countries and people who are affected and we should all continue to do our best to calm the panic among those less familiar with the vastness of the African continent.

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recently i went to serengeti ...there were hardly any tourist for safari..only one or two cars aroung me.. ..ebola has definitely changed peoples mind to plan a trip to africa ..

 

also this year there is climatic change in tanzania ..the rains are too early and in large volume ..even october if we compare from last year has started getting rain..

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I'm just surprised my relatives haven't asked me more questions regarding my upcoming Kenya trip. Then again, anybody whose concerned and knows me well will know that i'm pretty finicky (carry my hand sanitizer to a restaurant; complain about crowded places/strange odors) etc etc., ;)

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No cancellations so far on current bookings, but we have had concerns and questions from our guests and people thinking about booking. I would not say that it has impacted on number of enquiries, but I guess we can not tell how many never contacted us due to concerns about the outbreak.

 

We are currently not doing anything else than trying to inform in a objective manner so that people can make their own judgement and keeping up with the latest information.

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Posted (edited)

@@ngoko

 

 

 

My personal view is that we should all get on with our lives and continue to book safaris for next year. If for any reason the analysis is wrong and Ebola has gone globally viral by next year I think we will all have bigger things to worry about than a cancelled safari.

Cancelling a trip is an expensive option...You dont get 100% of your money back if you cancel a trip and going on safari is for many people a very expensive trip

 

There is probably an overreaction but on the other side, it should not be underestimated. I wonder sometimes how much is really known about this virus

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2786297/Experts-fear-Ebola-virus-COULD-spread-air-not-just-contact-bodily-fluids.html but maybe we should start another topic to discuss specifically about general news related Ebola

 

To come back to the main topic, I see lots of special offers (stay 3, pay 2...) already for July-October 2015 in top camps, something i don t remember to have seen in the past at this time of the year.

Edited by Dam2810

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

Me too.

 

Me three.

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Nothing I've seen in the news associates the other countries with the Ebola epidemic ........... Problem is people broadbrush, "Africa" ....... I guess the media too with statements like, "First Ebola related death outside Africa" etc etc.,

 

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People are over generalising too much, it is confined to a few countries in West Africa, perhaps some of the people who are thinking all of Africa is under threat are those who call Africa a country.

 

this being said the situation is serious

 

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a top-level forum in Washington, D.C., that the Ebola outbreak is unlike anything he’s seen since the AIDS epidemic.

“I would say that in the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS,” Frieden said before the heads of the United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, according to AFP.

 

Frieden added: “We have to work now so that it is not the world’s next AIDS.”

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/10/09/cdc-director-we-have-to-work-now-so-ebola-is-not-the-worlds-next-aids/

 

there is no general risk, you have to be exposed to some who has the condition, move dead bodies and eating bush meat is not a good idea

 

It needs a whold lot of resources in a hurry to get it under control.

 

A volunteer Red Cross nurse in Australia who had worked in clinics with emola patients had a fever on rteturn home, was isolated in a hospital and has been cleared by a pathology test.

 

When al is said and done the greatest risk associated with safari travel is probably getting rundown by aggressive cars in the city nairobi, Jhburg, Cape Town etc when you arrived a day or so early before going onto wildlife reserves.

 

here are some other reports

 

EBOLA, THE AFRICAN UNION AND BIOECONOMIC WARFARE
Health questions and the challenges for Africa
Horace G. Campbell

Comprehensive public education about Ebola is required, including its possible links to biological warfare research in the West. As for the response to the present outbreak in West Africa, the AU and ECOWAS have horribly failed the people of that region and Africa.
http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/93093
******


WANTED: FAR-SIGHTED AFRICAN LEADERSHIP AGAINST EBOLA
Akong Charles Ndika

The Ebola outbreak is a "Rwanda moment" for Africa. But leadership on this issue from around the continent has been at best too little too late, exposing Africa external militarization of responses to the epidemic that could creep into other important policy spheres like the economy or upset the regional geopolitical balance
http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/93106
******

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@@ngoko

 

 

 

My personal view is that we should all get on with our lives and continue to book safaris for next year. If for any reason the analysis is wrong and Ebola has gone globally viral by next year I think we will all have bigger things to worry about than a cancelled safari.

Cancelling a trip is an expensive option...You dont get 100% of your money back if you cancel a trip and going on safari is for many people a very expensive trip

 

There is probably an overreaction but on the other side, it should not be underestimated. I wonder sometimes how much is really known about this virus

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2786297/Experts-fear-Ebola-virus-COULD-spread-air-not-just-contact-bodily-fluids.html but maybe we should start another topic to discuss specifically about general news related Ebola

 

To come back to the main topic, I see lots of special offers (stay 3, pay 2...) already for July-October 2015 in top camps, something i don t remember to have seen in the past at this time of the year.

I certainly didn't mean to come across as blasé about the cost of safaris and the potential for cancellation fees. I am extremely aware that safaris are often very expensive and for many will be a once in a lifetime event. It was a slightly flippant point that if Ebola has spread throughout Africa by next year then I'm sure it will also be a similar situation in the US, Europe and the rest of the world. So we will indeed have rather more serious concerns.

 

You mention cancellation fees and that is an important point. I suspect very few of us would be covered on our travel insurance for cancellation due to Ebola, but it is perhaps worth asking the question. However if cancellation was due to a government travel advisory against travel to the country I would be very surprised if tour operators, travel agents, airlines or camps actually imposed their cancellation terms. In my experience the industry is normally as flexible as possible, and the costs in such situations are largely borne by the suppliers. I doubt very much that at this stage any operators would be prepared to announce a policy in the event of Ebola becoming an issue but it may be worth asking the question, you might find that you can book your safari with less onerous cancellation terms or a specific clause in respect of Ebola. Just a thought...

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@@ngoko Very good point Fiona re the cancellation fees and ebola. Are clients / potential clients expressing this concern?

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It doesnt surprise me that people are panicking but anyone with common sense will realise you're a lot more likely to be killed crossing the road than you are to get Ebola. Flu kills huge numbers every year - Ebola manages a fraction of that and people worry about it to extremes yet don't give flu a second thought. Similarly Malaria is a much bigger killer than Ebola. The sad fact is that sensational stories sell newspapers and get audience figures on tv, so thats what the press give us.

 

While I can see Kenya and Tanzania suffering as people are put off places with lots of visitors - and they do seem to focus on high visitor number tourism, places like Botswana and Namibia have low poipluation densities and lower visitor numbers, so I'd argue it's a good time to go there on safari - you'll come into contact with less people in a month there than you will in a few days in a city in the UK or US

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@@ngoko Very good point Fiona re the cancellation fees and ebola. Are clients / potential clients expressing this concern?

I have only had two clients so far expressing concern about Ebola. One was a Chinese group who were very panicked in the very early stages of the Ebola crisis. They still traveled (to South Africa) but I suspect it would be different now. The other was one of our regular US guests travelling to Tanzania who wanted reassurance for her family who were worried about her trip (although she had no concerns personally). I haven't experienced any clients not booking due to Ebola concerns or asking about cancellation fees but new enquiries are perhaps a bit slower than normal...this may or may not be Ebola related.

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@@predator - Kenya and Tanzania can also be done the Botswana/Namibia way ...... One can easily avoided the crowded parks/zones with better planning. I'm a huge Botswana fan too ....... I don't think Kenya has anything lacking by any stretch. Sorry, that was going off-topic .......

 

Thinking of @@ngoko s comment above ....... The chinese are all over Africa at the moment - I hope they send back a positive message home.

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@@predator - Kenya and Tanzania can also be done the Botswana/Namibia way ...... One can easily avoided the crowded parks/zones with better planning. I'm a huge Botswana fan too ....... I don't think Kenya has anything lacking by any stretch. Sorry, that was going off-topic .......

 

Thinking of @@ngoko s comment above ....... The chinese are all over Africa at the moment - I hope they send back a positive message home.

Sadly in my case they absconded from their wonderful safari lodge in order to go to Sun City for a night :(. I've never had any of my guests "escape" whilst on safari before!!!

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Is it any wonder people are concerned when a huge part of the problem is irresponsible journalism.

 

The Front page headline in Friday’s Daily Telegraph ‘Ebola may have reached the UK’ what provoked this frightening statement is the death of a British man in Macedonia who died while suffering from internal bleeding, diarrhoea and vomiting all symptoms of the virus. The Macedonian authorities immediately locked down and quarantined the hotel in Skopje where the man had been staying and isolated his companion. His companion stated that neither of them had been to West Africa and they had arrived in Macedonia straight from the UK leading journalists to conclude that he could have become infected in the UK. Samples from the dead man were sent to Germany for analysis but the results have not yet come back so officially his death is from causes unknown, however this has not stopped some newspapers and TV channels from reporting that he died from Ebola.

 

Searching the Internet for more information on this story I found the following headlines

 

Channel 4 News – ‘British man dies of Ebola in Macedonia’

 

And from Australia News.com.au – ‘UK man dies from Ebola in Macedonia’

 

Most of the other headlines have been slightly more responsible only suggesting that it might have been Ebola.

 

The Daily Mail – ‘British man dies of suspected Ebola in Macedonia’

 

The Independent – ‘British man dies of deadly virus in Macedonia’

 

The Mirror – ‘Ebola: British victim suspected of dying from killer virus in Macedonia named’

 

The latest news from the Macedonian health authorities is that they do not think that he died from Ebola, once they have the results (on Saturday) this should hopefully confirm that it was not Ebola. The Mirror article was from Friday afternoon after it was reported on the radio that the Macedonians do not think the man died from Ebola.

 

In Dallas a sheriff’s deputy Michael Monnig who visited the late Mr Duncan’s apartment and had some contact with members of his family but none with Mr Duncan himself, took himself to an Urgent Care Clinic complaining of fatigue and a stomach ache, he didn’t think that he had Ebola. However not wanting to repeat the blunder made with Mr Duncan they immediately had him taken to hospital by paramedics wearing hazmat suits so that he could be tested for Ebola. The deputy’s son has said that his father was not suffering from a fever or from vomiting or diarrhoea and health officials and the CDC have said it’s very unlikely that he has Ebola and that he was not one of the people being monitored none of whom in any case have shown any signs of having Ebola.

 

Yet various news reports suggested that he was taken to hospital with symptoms of Ebola, if he had caught Ebola this would suggest that the virus can be spread without direct contact indicating that the experts don’t know enough about how the virus is spread or if you’re a conspiracy theorist that they are telling lies. As a result apparently lots of people got into panic about this quite unnecessarily as Mr Monnig’s test results have come back showing surprise, surprise that he doesn’t have Ebola.

 

Assurances Are Given and a Deputy Goes Home, but Ebola Fears Persist

 

Is it any wonder that people are in a panic over this disease when journalists are so irresponsible over what they report? The following story from the UK illustrates that when it comes to parents wanting to protect their children ignorance will always triumph over reason.

 

Schoolboy 'treated like a leper': British primary school bans healthy nine-year-old from Sierra Leone to ease ebola fears of 'hysterical' parents

 

It’s far easier to just take no chances than do some research and find what if any actual risk there is, especially when you’re reading misleading news reports that seem to suggest that what we are being told about Ebola may not be entirely true and that not enough is none about this virus. You also might be forgiven for thinking that Ebola is spreading outside of West Africa when really it’s not, cases seem to be popping up around Europe and elsewhere but these are either false alarms as in France recently and is likely in Macedonia or unfortunate health workers who’ve been flown home from West Africa. Thankfully an Australian nurse who after returning to Queensland developed a mild fever has tested negative, though she will likely be tested again to be absolutely sure. Certainly over here Ebola is in the news almost all the time so it’s quite easy to see why anyone who had been thinking of taking their children on safari might just decide that it’s better not to take any chances at all and not go anywhere near Africa.

 

While there have been no cases at all in Eastern or Southern Africa there has been an Ebola scare in Zimbabwe, a hospital in Harare was closed and quarantined after a young woman thought to be from the DRC (where there is a separate outbreak going on) was admitted who was vomiting and had a nose bleed however tests confirmed that she has malaria. Will people remember that this and other suspected cases were just false alarms? Or will some people now wrongly think that Ebola has reached Zimbabwe.

 

I am afraid the media is not going to suddenly start acting responsibly and wait for actual confirmation before declaring that someone has Ebola, there will be more sensationalist scare stories because that’s what sells newspapers. Which will only serve to increase the fear and I’ve no doubt this will have a negative impact on safari bookings.

 

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