Dam2810

Impact of Ebola on safari bookings?

165 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

The media's sensationalist approach to the ebola outbreak is a massive mountain to climb, but every bit helps. We designed this infographic about ebola to help travelers make an informed decision to fight the negative effect one traveler at a time. All tour operators are welcome to send this infographic to their clients when the ebola questions come up. Some have already posted it on their blogs to spread the word. Please feel free to use it as a means to 'educate' travelers planning to visit Africa. We'll gladly add your branding if you'd like. Just let us know.

Matt, let me know if this infographic should be moved elsewhere on the forum.

 

ebola_infographic_631.gif

 

Here's the link to the article associated with this infographic: http://thesafaricompany.co.za/travelblog/ebola-are-you-at-risk-infographic/

 

Hope it helps!

Edited by TheSafariCo.
4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@TheSafariCo. This is the perfect place for it. Glad to have you aboard and thanks for your contribution to the topic. Don't forget to intoduce yourself to forum members here.

 

Have you been affected by client concerns? Cancellations, slow down in bookings etc?

 

Matt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@@Game Warden, some of our partners have had cancellations and lots of questions by clients planning to visit Africa. This brought about the infographic. I've been following SafariTalk for years but haven't posted yet. This is a great forum and I will definitely be more active in the future!

 

Cheers,

 

Dirk

Edited by TheSafariCo.
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We need members like you who want to post the truth, and encourage people to visit Africa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Just as I suspected would prove to be the case.

 

Ebola: Briton who died in Macedonia did not have deadly virus, officials say

 

Health officials have said that the Briton who died in Macedonia on Thursday did not succumb to Ebola.

 

 

 

 

 

“We have just received the results from the lab in Hamburg and they are negative for Ebola, which means that the patient did not have the Ebola virus,” Dr Jovanka Kostovska from Macedonia’s Health Ministry's commission for infectious diseases said.

 

 

Will all of the newspapers, news channels etc around that world that stated that this man died from Ebola now apologies for all of the entirely unnecessary fear that they have caused, I won’t hold my breath. :angry:

Edited by inyathi
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering when this thread would show up here :) And now that it has....just read through all of the posts and agree with pretty much everything here. I try to travel to Africa every year- my favorite place on the planet. I had pretty much set my sights on Zimbabwe for next year, but have not planned anything at this time because of this mess. I have been telling people that it's not because I'm afraid of catching Ebola, I'm more afraid of how I'll be treated when I get home. The hysteria here in the US is off the charts. I have a finite amount of money to spend on my trips (which I have to work hard to save for each year) and it would be a huge bummer if I had to cancel and lose money because the land of the afraid and paranoid decided to close their borders to any Africa travel. Read any report and then look at the comments- they are screaming for that. I love Africa and my heart breaks with every story I read. If only the international community had done their job and helped from the very beginning this thread would never have been written. I'm still hoping to go, but waiting to book for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just back from Zim myself :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And had a fabulous time I assume- my plan is Mana, Hwange and Karibe- been to Vic falls already so didn't feel the need to repeat that :)

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hwange and Mana Pools with @@Safaridude. Trip report forthcoming...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The outbreak started in December 2013 at a small town in southern Guinea near the Sierra Leone and Liberian borders. The Zaire strain is the most deadly and the Ebola 2014 outbreak is the biggest... read more

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ I've merged yohur topic into the ongoing Ebola thread here.

 

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am most definitely not cancelling as I fly in 15 days!! Yipee! :)

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still planning to head off for Laikipia, Kenya in January. :)

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I had hoped to write a positive post on the subject of Ebola but the staggering degree of incompetence that we have just seen in America makes it slightly more difficult, I’m sure that a lot of people in the US who weren’t worried about Ebola now are. This will certainly not help reduce the amount of paranoia about this disease.

 

There is however some very good news that I can report, On the 29th of August a young Guinean man with Ebola travelled by road into neighbouring Senegal became ill, went to hospital was treated and cured of the disease and there have been no new cases since then so

 

Senegal is now Ebola Free

 

And on Monday Nigeria will also be declared Ebola Free

 

This disease can be beaten.

 

The other news from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is really not good unfortunately the situation there continues to get worse, MSF (Medecin Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders) the undoubted heroes of the Ebola crisis are saying that the infection rate is doubling and the hard work being done by the British Army in Sierra Leone and the US in Liberia will have no effect for at least a month or so.

 

The WHO has also just announced that the main priority alongside bringing the virus under control in the three affected countries is to stop Ebola from spreading to another 15 African countries. These countries are all neighbours of the three affected states or still have transport links with them and are as follows

 

Mauretania

Gambia

Senegal

Guinea Bissau

Mali

Burkina Faso

Ivory Coast

Ghana

Togo

Benin

Niger

Cameroon

Central African Republic

DRC

South Sudan

 

This should not be major cause for concern, (as of Monday) only one of these countries currently has Ebola, there is an outbreak in a remote part of Equateur Province in the DRC but this is being brought under control, however as the number of cases continues to rise in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone so the chances of the virus spreading to these other countries increases. Therefore they need to have plans in place to make sure that if Ebola does arrive they don’t have an outbreak, as both Senegal and Nigeria have already shown this disease can be beaten, so there's no reason to believe that if Ebola does reach any of these countries that it can't be contained. Unfortunately though I’m sure some people will misinterpret this as evidence that Ebola is already spreading through Africa when it's not.

 

One thing that I think really doesn’t help is that the media instead of referring to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone always just refer to West Africa because so many people have a very poor grasp of geography this just reinforces the link in some people’s minds between Africa and Ebola. I hope also that when Nigeria is declared free of Ebola the BBC might stop referring to the three hardest hit countries which implies that other countries have been hit by Ebola when this is only really true of the DRC.

 

Despite all of the screw ups in America they will get the disease under control and there won’t be more than a few cases, after all the two missionary doctors who were cured and the photographer Ashoka Mukpo who is recovering in Nebraska after being repatriated from Liberia have not infected anyone else. One of the assertions that is constantly made in the comments people post about Ebola under all the various news articles is that the CDC is lying when it says that Ebola is hard to catch and that the virus is far easier to catch than we’re being told. However there is no evidence for this at all, if Ebola really isn’t that hard to catch then why are none of Mr Duncan’s original contacts including the ten considered at high risk showing any signs of Ebola. They are almost at the end of their quarantine so it’s unlikely that any of them have Ebola. That two nurses are infected while a major mistake is hardly unexpected as they are the people most at risk of infection since they are in close contact with Ebola patients when they’re in their most infectious state. The dangers are well illustrated by the number of nurses and other health workers that have died in the affected countries.

 

Ebola virus no match for U.S. health community

 

I’m afraid until there is some really good news from the affected countries showing that infection rates are going down and the situation is being brought under control then people will remain scared of visiting Africa and safari bookings will remain low. The fact that most people who’ve already booked and paid at least a deposit are not cancelling is a positive sign in that it shows that once people have actually done some research they come to realise that there is no risk.

 

In light of events in America I wonder how much people’s concerns are actually about the fear of sharing a plane with someone suffering from Ebola, with so many people making unfounded comments online about how we don’t really know how Ebola is spread or that we clearly don’t know enough about the disease it’s no wonder people are afraid. There may be things we still don’t know about Ebola but the disease was first discovered in 1976 long enough ago that we have a very good understanding of how it is spread and how it’s not spread. Last weekend in the Telegraph the journalist and travel writer Tim Butcher who wrote a book about Liberia and Sierra Leone called ‘Chasing the Devil on Foot Through Africa’s Killing Fields’ wrote an article about the Ebola crisis he ended the article by saying that it’s vital we get Ebola under control before it mutates and becomes airborne. In the Travel section of the same paper the Telegraph’s travel doctor wrote a piece about Ebola explaining why we should not be scared of flying or going to Africa and why he couldn’t think of anywhere he’d rather be than in a safari camp out in the bush, in the article he pointed out that while viruses mutate all the time no known virus has ever changed its mode of transmission. This is why I’m not very concerned about Ebola because I tend to believe doctors and other experts rather than journalists, I can’t link to the Telegraph article as I don’t think it’s online but here’s a BBC article.

 

Ebola outbreak: What the is risk of catching it on a flight?

 

As another example of how irrational people’s fears have become a school in Bristol had to cancel a planned visit by some Gambian teachers because parents were concerned about Ebola, how many cases have there been in Gambia none, what’s the risk of a teacher from Gambia having Ebola zero.

 

Here’s an article on the impact of Ebola on tourism in Gambia

 

Ebola takes toll on the Gambia from beyond its borders

Edited by inyathi
6 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am unsure of what the point is of your posting. I must bristle a bit at the comment about how "the incompetence of America" is the root of this. As an American I can easily agree that it has not been handled well here and there is a high degree of irrationality in this country about Ebola and unfortunately, it being an election year, the stupidity abounds. However, the irrational fear appears to know no geographical boundaries. Insanity reigns everywhere. Belize won't allow a cruise ship to dock and the same is said of Mexico. Spain kills a treasured family dog because of this irrational fear. There is nothing positive to write about this horrific situation on our planet. Irrational fear is everywhere. As I had posted earlier, my only hesitation in planning my annual trip to Africa is that I would like to be sure that I can return and that my beloved pets will be safe. It's a matter of watching the news, and I have the BBC as a fav and consider it a trusted source, but I will still plan my trip. Just giving it a bit more time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't worry-if you're going to East or Southern Africa you shouldn't have anything to fear. A lot of the problem is that the press always manages to conjure up the most horrible images of anything having to do with Africa. There is never any balanced reporting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope it will be soon under control but right now the situation is getting desperate in the 3 well known countries and I understand the concerns of people. If they are unable to cope with 1,000 new cases a week, I am wondering how they will manage the situation if some predictions (10,000 new cases a week by Xmas) are true and it it would only be a matter of times before the virus spread to adjacent countries. Hope to be wrong but i don t share the optimism of some. Travelling tomorrow or next month to any safari destination is risk free but nobody knows what the situation will be in 1 year or in 2 years. Personally I love too much my safaris and i am still considering going next september

 

 

Ebola epidemic may not end without developing vaccine, scientist warns

Professor Peter Piot, one of the scientists who discovered Ebola, claims scale of outbreak has got ‘completely out of hand’

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I am unsure of what the point is of your posting. I must bristle a bit at the comment about how "the incompetence of America" is the root of this. As an American I can easily agree that it has not been handled well here and there is a high degree of irrationality in this country about Ebola and unfortunately, it being an election year, the stupidity abounds. However, the irrational fear appears to know no geographical boundaries. Insanity reigns everywhere. Belize won't allow a cruise ship to dock and the same is said of Mexico. Spain kills a treasured family dog because of this irrational fear. There is nothing positive to write about this horrific situation on our planet. Irrational fear is everywhere. As I had posted earlier, my only hesitation in planning my annual trip to Africa is that I would like to be sure that I can return and that my beloved pets will be safe. It's a matter of watching the news, and I have the BBC as a fav and consider it a trusted source, but I will still plan my trip. Just giving it a bit more time.

@@lmonmm I am sure @@inyathi will respond himself when he notices your comment, but you might be missing the large difference between "in America" and "of America". Quite understandable. My own point of view is that this is a PR war as much as a war against Ebola. That isn't to say there is not a real and important war against Ebola going on, but that coverage of that real war and the impact of that real war around the world is being overshadowed by a PR war, where ignorance is winning. There are good examples raised by inyathi and others, and in your prior post, which really struck a chord with me, because I could really see what you meant (thanks for that post!) - that your problem was with what the consequences to you of other folks' irrationality could be if you were to go ahead with a trip to anywhere in Africa in the current climate of fear. I've decided to stand up to people over the past few days and engage them in discussion about the belief that many of them (I found out) have that traveling to Africa - anywhere in Africa - is currently irresponsible and that people like me should actually be given a good spanking for putting others at risk by doing it. I am sure Thailand is a lot lower down the scale of informed countries than those in which other members here live, but the same kind of thinking seems to be developing in many places.

 

(The rest and much above isn't directed at you Imonmm! It's just a rant following on from my comments to you, directed at the sky, birds, my cats and anyone who happens to be listening!)

 

This potentially goes beyond how we spend our holidays and I see how it could have terrible consequences when people start going beyond thinking and actually start saying that if you are African or have been to Africa recently you are not welcome. We saw something like this when HIV first became apparent, and that was bad enough, but this could be worse if responsible people (and I still hope journalists and respected politicians are that, despite evidence to the contrary) do not start working to keep things in perspective rather than to stir up terror. How long before passengers start demanding Africans be removed from a plane, regardless of their history? There is a thin line between journalists and others making sure governments do the right thing and take concerted action to stop the spread of Ebola and win the war on the ground against it in the three or four countries seriously affected, and the same people enabling so much fear that it becomes a "fact" that every country in the world is at risk, governments are not protecting us and anyone who plays down the risk is just attempting to obscure the truth.

 

But. I honestly hope I am just getting paranoid about Ebola paranoia.

Edited by pault
5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@lmonmm Sorry it was rather late when I added my last post, I actually meant to rewrite the part about American incompetence, after all America has never had to deal with Ebola before so it’s entirely understandable that some mistakes have been made. It wasn’t intended to be a serious attack on the US; I’m just rather fed up with reading online comments mostly but not by any means entirely from Americans demanding that all travel to and from Africa be stopped. I feel like responding that outside of the affected countries Africans have more to fear from visiting Americans spreading Ebola than vice a versa and that perhaps flights to and from the US should be stopped.

 

The nurse who was apparently told she could fly despite reporting a mild fever may not actually have posed a significant risk to her fellow passengers but the fact that the authorities then had to track down 132 people and get them to monitor their health will have done nothing to calm people’s fears. Even if they weren’t in any real danger all of the other people on that plane have reason to be very angry. I’m not surprised at all that two nurses became infected as I said before they are the people most likely to come into contact with bodily fluids carrying Ebola, this is a terrible but understandable mistake in a hospital that has never dealt with Ebola before. However allowing one of the nurses to fly when she already had a fever just beggar’s belief, this is what really prompted my comment about staggering incompetence as well as the hospital's original handling of Mr Duncan.

 

It’s not just about actual incompetence that might spread the virus it’s also about perceived incompetence which spreads the fear, I’m sure many will have seen the news footage of so called ‘clipboard man’ the guy wearing normal cloths while all his colleagues are in Hazmat suits. I don’t believe that this man was in any actual danger but to many people his actions appear grossly irresponsible which will only serve to convince people that no one in the US appears to have a clue what they’re doing, this in turn increases people’s fears. It just seems that no one is giving any thought to how their actions will be interpreted or misinterpreted by the media and the general public.

 

It’s definitely not just the US at Heathrow the officials carrying out the screening of people originating from the affected countries were reportedly shaking the hands of the passengers they were checking, does this pose any risk of spreading Ebola no it doesn’t but it really doesn’t look good.

 

In Spain the husband of the infected nurse was asked why they had gone on holiday after she had been treating an Ebola patient he basically said “no one said we couldn’t, I’m just a welder what do I know about Ebola.” He is understandably very angry because clearly his wife didn’t know nearly as much about Ebola as she should have done. Even if they didn’t think it was necessary the hospital should have asked to her to self quarantine and avoid travelling for over 21 days not just because she might have been infected but to reassure the public that they were taking every precaution to insure that Ebola will not spread.

 

Spain committed a whole series of blunders in their handling of the infected nurse and yet so far it appears that no one else is infected showing that Ebola is hard to catch. Events in Dallas demonstrate the same thing that just as the experts tell us Ebola is hard to catch and therefore why there will not be a significant outbreak in any wealthy developed country with a good functioning health care system. However other people will conclude the exact opposite that what has happened shows just how easily there could be an outbreak in the US or the UK or elsewhere in Europe, real and perceived incompetence has ramped up people’s fears of an outbreak, this will in turn increase people’s suspicion of anyone who comes from Africa or who has visited Africa.

 

While Ebola is hard to catch fear is not, safari bookings are down because of people’s mostly unfounded fears about Ebola, fears in part caused by media scaremongering (and in the US people trying to make political capital out of the situation) coupled with a general ignorance about Africa amongst the wider population. These fears are also being inadvertently stoked by health officials in the US, in Spain, in UK and possibly elsewhere creating the impression that they’re either not taking Ebola seriously or they don’t really have a clue what they are doing.

 

To overcome this irrational fear of anyone who comes from or goes to Africa we need to show people that their fears are unfounded they need reassuring that if someone with Ebola does arrive there won’t be an outbreak that the authorities will quickly contain the disease. At the moment health officials in the US and Spain have succeeded in doing the opposite.

 

As @@pault suggests there is a PR war going on over the threat posed by Ebola and at the moment the fear mongers are winning it to the detriment of unaffected parts of Africa, the safari industry and wildlife conservation.

 

There is a little bit of positive news to report but the tabloid newspapers aren’t generally reporting it, that’s why I wanted to trumpet the fact that Senegal and Nigeria have beaten Ebola.

 

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually don't disagree with everything you say. Insanity rules right now. The Greek football (soccer) team than wouldn't let it's Liberian player return for 21 days just because he went to play with Cameroon. He hasn't been to Liberia for over a year, but insanity rules. I do believe he is questioning now whether he wants to keep playing for them , but the lives being turned topsy turvy over this is heart breaking. From all of those families in the affected countries, to the poor soul who owns the wedding shop in Ohio that is now shuttered. I am thankful for red wine :) It allows me a reprieve from this ridiculousness going on in our world. I laughed when you talked about the screeners at Heathrow shaking hands with the same people they screened. Insanity rules. It has become increasingly difficult for me to hang out in the lunch room because insanity rules. What I continually try to instill in people is that if we do not stop this where it started, insanity will continue to rule. The Western world, all of it, failed those 3 countries beyond belief. They did not come forth with assistance back in March when the alarms were really going off. No one cared until the first Westerner was afflicted. I'm rambling. I apologize. This is particularly saddening to me. I love Africa. That continent is my bliss. It's being hurt terribly and that is painful to me. I will be going there next year. I am determined. In the meantime, I watch, read, try to keep myself educated, educate those around me and drink wine. :) Oh- and cry pretty regularly, but that is healthy. I am a member of this planet and if I didn't cry, then I'd really be in trouble. Peace and happy travels everyone.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prices at some point have to fall because so many people especially newbies are canceling safaris. There will also be better rates for longer stays.

 

Tourism in Kenya isn't doing well. My flight from Nairobi to Instanbul at the end of September was half empty when it should have been full. Furthermore,

many of the passengers were Turkish engineers returning to their homeland after working after working on projects in Kenya. I can only predict that things will be much worse on my return to Nairobi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Another article on this. Clearly unfairly, the fact is safari bookings are really hurting.

 

 

Ebola Misperceptions Sink Safari Market in Eastern and Southern Africa

skift.com - Far from the heart of West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, the safari industry is taking a hit as alarm over the deadly virus causes travelers to shun the entire continent.

 

Tour operators in the eastern and southern nations famed for wildlife are part of widening fallout from the disease. Instead of just skirting the danger zone in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, some visitors are abandoning a sub-Saharan tourism market the World Bank estimates at $36 billion.

 

http://skift.com/2014/10/18/ebola-misperceptions-sink-safari-market-in-eastern-and-southern-africa/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know what you are feeling @@lmonmm - each day since I've returned someone has said to me, don't get near me --you went to Africa! Whether in jest or not;

 

It is definitely PARANOIA and INSANITY.

 

I gave up giving geography lessons. People panic quickly; it spreads and news channels, journalists, etc. exacerbate it. The GOOD journalists don't have a chance against tabloid media.

 

NBC is reporting as I speak there should be a travel ban to Africa by Obama.

 

I need that glass of wine as well.

 

I agree with AKR1, it is so unfair to the safari industry and I will do my best to get back.

 

Just my thoughts; I am at the point I do not want to watch news on Ebola. Get me back to the bush!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@graceland

 

Just my thoughts; I am at the point I do not want to watch news on Ebola. Get me back to the bush!

 

I sympathise entirely I’ve just watched a short BBC News documentary on Sierra Leone and it’s truly horrifying the situation there, particularly the fact that there simply aren’t enough hospital beds so infected people are being turned away from hospitals which puts there whole family at risk as they have nowhere to go except back home.

 

The dedication of the medics working out there in extremely dangerous conditions is extraordinary but instead of saluting these inspirational people and the 3,000 British troops who will soon be out there, everyone is convinced that these people if they don’t die out there will just bring Ebola back to the UK.

 

Here’s another small bit of positive news

 

Ebola crisis: Spanish nurse tests negative for virus

 

I hope we will soon here similar news from the US about the two nurses there.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.