Dam2810

Impact of Ebola on safari bookings?

165 posts in this topic

For anyone in the UK there was an interesting program on BBC World Service radio the other day called Ebola The Impact on Africa if you want to listen to it it’s available on iPlayer, if you’re not in the UK then unless it’s repeated I don’t suppose you will be able to get it. The program discussed amongst other things the crippling impact of Ebola on tourism in Senegal.

 

UNMEER has stated that their target of having 70% of new cases receiving treatment in a hospital/treatment centre and 70% of bodies safely buried within 24hrs by the 1st of December will be met in some locations but in other areas cannot be met due to lack of resources. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has asked her people to redouble their efforts in order to achieve their goal of no Ebola in Liberia by Christmas, it does seem as though the disease really has levelled off in the country. The Americans are scaling back their operations there; two of their planned treatment centres will now no longer be built and the resources will be diverted elsewhere. It is actually possible that Liberia could meet their target provided nothing goes wrong. It also seems that the infection rate is slowing in Guinea as well and although Mali has reported its eighth case it does seem that contact tracing is working there and they should be able to prevent Ebola from taking hold. The problem remains Sierra Leone where they are really struggling to get on top of Ebola but as the infection rate comes down in Liberia and Guinea more effort and resources can be put into sierra Leone.

 

I remain cautiously optimistic that we will start to see the beginning of the end early next year. Maybe by then people fearful that there will be an outbreak in the US or Europe will see that their fears were unfounded. I believe that the number of cases treated outside of Africa now stands at 22 of these 5 have died; only 3 all nurses caught the disease outside Africa. So 19 cases of Ebola contracted in Africa have so far led to just 3 cases contracted outside Africa. When the fear that returning medics or soldiers will bring Ebola back to the US or the UK & Europe causing an epidemic subsides, then I hope people will become less fearful of Africa.

 

Back on the subject of Band Aid whether it’s intentional or not controversy generates publicity and St Bob sure loves publicity, the fact that various West Africans and others have criticised Band Aid or mainly the song just gives him the opportunity to go on TV swear a lot and tell them all to get stuffed. Geldof really doesn’t care who he offends or whether it’s patronising to think that a celebrity sing song will save Africa yet again as long as people buy the single that’s all he cares about, after all he’s said more than a few times even if you don’t like it just buy it anyway.

 

@@madaboutcheetah

 

To sell this to the current generation they have used an almost entirely new line up including the likes of One Direction whatever those of us who appreciate good music think of them they will attract an audience who otherwise wouldn’t buy this and who probably have very little awareness of Ebola. They even managed to include a token West African in the form of the wonderful Angelique Kidjo, the London born rap star Fuse ODG who is of Ghanaian origin however told Bob to get stuffed after he read the lyrics, understandably he had a problem with the line “there won’t peace and joy in West Africa this Christmas” given there’s no Ebola in Ghana or in 12 other West African countries.

 

Band Aid 30 Line Up

 

Bono apparently hated his original line even though some people think it was the best line in the song so he now sings “well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you” and also “how can they know it’s Christmas” which is not exactly appropriate because while Liberia is mostly Christian, Guinea and Sierra Leone are predominantly Muslim. Mind you the First time around the Ethiopians didn’t need to be asked if they know it’s Christmas when Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian countries in the world and in their case it wasn’t quite Christmas because they actually celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January.

 

I guess whatever you think of the song it has already apparently raised thousands of pounds as well as awareness amongst people who may not know about the Ebola crisis so maybe one shouldn’t be over critical. However Geldof’s attitude that he’s always right and that other people’s opinions can be ignored rubs people up the wrong way.

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Yes it is dross @@inyathi, but as you say it raises money and awareness - and of course gets the participants brownie points with their fans.

 

As far as lower prices are concerned, I cannot say I have noticed prices in Kenya plummeting. I was hoping that there would be some great special deals but they have not materialised.

 

Even though Ebola is now being knocked off the headlines things are not improving. The latest incidents at Mandera (Kenya) and Maidugari (Nigeria) will not be encouraging people to visit Africa either.

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If the kenya agencies start giving promotions/specials, it should draw in those sitting on the fence. And with that base, the momentum can build on that and then they can withdraw the specials. Lose a little to draw people in, rather than draw no one in and lose even more. Well, it's just one option to look at. .. I've probably missed a lot more considerations, which is why I'm not a business person!

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If the kenya agencies start giving promotions/specials, it should draw in those sitting on the fence. And with that base, the momentum can build on that and then they can withdraw the specials. Lose a little to draw people in, rather than draw no one in and lose even more. Well, it's just one option to look at. .. I've probably missed a lot more considerations, which is why I'm not a business person!

 

You may not be a business person @@Kitsafari but you are a traveller and someone who visits Africa regularly.

Perhaps what Kenyan operators should be doing is asking "What would it take to make you book a safari in Kenya?"

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@@Kitsafari and @@Soukous, look carefully. There are plenty of very good special offers on at the moment.

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EBOLA: THE US DOES NOT DO ANYTHING IN AFRICA FOR AFRICA'S SAKE
Antoine Roger Lokongo

The international response - more so from the US - to the Ebola crisis in West Africa has little to do with aiding Africa, but rather ensuring control over its resource wealth. Where will the cooperation or competition between US and China leave Africans?

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/93541

******


THE POLITICS OF THE EBOLA CRISIS IN WEST AFRICA
Is this a warning of things to come?
Zaya Yeebo

The countries reeling under the Ebola outbreak were recovering from prolonged conflict that had destroyed health infrastructures. Additionally, in the 1980s through the 1990s, these countries implemented neo-liberal reforms imposed by IMF and World Bank, whereby welfare systems were abandoned in exchange for donor support.

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/93550

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Posted (edited)

Until now I have been somewhat reluctant to add an update to this thread because the news from West Africa has been so relentlessly bad at least from Sierra Leone that I was beginning to think that I had been far too optimistic in my earlier assessment of the situation. That my cautiously optimistic prediction that we would begin to see the end of this crisis early this year would prove to be too optimistic and not come to pass. Meanwhile the media is still churning out the same needless scare stories about people being precautionary tested for Ebola obviously because they want to attract readers and keep their advertisers happy to ensure the money is coming in. It’s not just the British media either when looking for the latest news on the most recent person being tested in the UK an article in the Straits Times of Singapore came up, I wonder if they’ve bothered to report that the result was negative as it has been in every other case. Why on earth people in Singapore needed to be told that a woman in Britain is being tested for Ebola I don't know I can only assume they actually thought she might have it despite the hospital stating that Ebola was unlikely, I guess as well as needing to sell papers journalists like many of their readers don't really understand the meaning of precuationary when used in relation to an Ebola test.

 

Even when the press actually make it very clear that Ebola is not thought likely as they sometimes do, the comments sections are still full of people convinced that it will be, demanding to know why these people are allowed into the country automatically assuming that they must be immigrants when in fact they're most likely British citizens. Or why flights to the UK haven’t been stopped even though they were stopped months ago and thinking that we are all somehow in danger of catching Ebola. Thankfully though I think these people are probably just a vociferous but ill informed minority and that most people aren’t actually that worried about Ebola and aren’t in a panic because a nurse has come back here from Sierra Leone infected with the virus. She has illustrated just as was apparent from events in America that infected people do not spread Ebola until they are seriously ill but then that is exactly what experts on Ebola have been saying.

 

So having become a little depressed about the Ebola situation it is a huge relief to be able to report that I was perhaps not in fact being overly optimistic in saying that we would soon start to see an end to this crisis. At last there is some really positive news from West Africa the following was reported by Reuters on Jan 14th

All three countries hit hardest by the Ebola epidemic have recorded their lowest weekly number of new cases for months, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, as the global death toll reached 8,429 out of 21,296 cases reported so far.

 

Sierra Leone and Guinea both saw the lowest weekly total of confirmed Ebola cases since August 2014. Liberia, which reported two days with zero new cases last week, had its lowest weekly total since June, the WHO said.

 

 

This is quite possibly the first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel indicating that the beginning of the end may be just around the corner. Here’s another longer article from Reuters

 

Ebola outbreak in West Africa appears to be slowing down: U.N.

 

Of course it is possible that in some locations the rate of infection could still rise again and much like putting out a bushfire it only takes a single spark to cause another flare up so the end could still prove to be some way off. However Liberia is talking about being Ebola free by the end of February and even if that does prove to be too optimistic the fact that they think it’s even possible has to be seen as a very good sign. I think by the summer we really could start to see the end of this and if I were to stick my neck out I think it could all be over by around July/August, assuming no one takes their eye of the ball and fails to stamp out some sparks.

 

Hopefully in the coming weeks and months we will see more positive news stories confirming that this crisis is indeed coming to an end then I hope that any fear people have of Africa will recede and people will realise that the threat of Ebola spreading far and wide which was in any case largely imaginary has passed. After Nigeria quickly stamped out their outbreak I was confident that the virus would not spread within Africa and thankfully it hasn’t, back on the 5th of January America announced that travellers from Mali would no longer be subject to enhanced screening or forced to arrive at certain airports and this Sunday the 18th the country will be declared Ebola free.

 

Ebola Situation report

 

I’ve never thought that an outbreak of any significance was ever likely anywhere in the developed world, 6 people died in Mali and 8 in Nigeria of those people 4 of the Mali deaths and 7 of the Nigeria deaths can be attributed to the fact that the patient was misdiagnosed. Despite what I said back in my first post when the infected Liberian diplomat Mr Sawyer arrived in Nigeria the hospital initially thought he was suffering from malaria largely due to the fact that he lied about having contact with an Ebola patient his sister who had just died of the disease so no one took precautions until it was too late. The possibility of someone being misdiagnosed as in Nigeria or Mali would pose the greatest risk of starting an outbreak in Europe or the US as indeed could very well have happened with Mr Duncan in Texas. However after what happened with Mr Duncan it was unlikely that anyone would repeat this mistake so the risk of an infected traveller causing an outbreak is very small. All the same the fear that this disease could spread to the West undoubtedly forced the world to step up and fight this disease and speeded up the development of a vaccine. Therefore should there ever be another outbreak of Ebola anywhere in Africa in the future the world won’t sit back and ignore it and with an effective vaccine it should be possible to quickly bring it under control. So I hope that nothing like this will ever happen again in the future and in the present I hope that once it is clear that the crisis is ending or has ended that safari bookings will return to normal and that Africa will not remain stigmatised by this awful disease.

Edited by inyathi
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I must say, Australia has the most exhaustive "Ebola form" for arriving passengers, including a list of every African country which you need to tick if you've visited in the recent past. Was a very interesting exercise for us.

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How many did you have, @@madaboutcheetah ? And welcome back, you seem to have enjoyed yourself down under!

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Hi Michael ......... In terms of countries visited? Unfortunately, none as I haven't been to Africa in many months ............. :)

 

Yes, loved OZ!!!!

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Posted (edited)

~ When I arrived at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the early afternoon of 1 May, it was if all concerns about Ebola had vanished into the empyrean.



Unlike my arrival at the same location on 18 January of this year, there were no prominent signs, no public health staff in evidence and no more than an obscure notice.



Returning to Beijing through international airports in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Incheon, South Korea, there was nothing at all until reaching Beijing.



A large sign in Beijing Capital International Airport enjoined arriving international passengers to declare themselves if they'd visited the affected West African nations.



Tom K.

Edited by Tom Kellie

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Posted (edited)

~ It should be added that throughout the safari local staff made a point of partially attributing the empty lodges, very few groups and overall sense of emptiness to Ebola concerns overseas.



Is that truly the case at this date?



Here in Beijing, Ebola has seemingly slipped off the radar, in contrast to half a year ago.



Tom K.


Edited by Tom Kellie

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Tom, I think Garissa had a large part to play with cancellations if any ........ May is down time anyways, with majority of the camps (even in the conservancies) closed.

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Tom, I think Garissa had a large part to play with cancellations if any ........ May is down time anyways, with majority of the camps (even in the conservancies) closed.

 

~ @@madaboutcheetah

 

Ah, so that's the cause.

Thank you for telling me.

Interesting that the Ebola trope was what was offered as the excuse du jour, while nary a peep about Garissa was heard.

The early May visit to Masai Mara was so pleasant that I'd unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone seeking a beautiful, low-key uncrowded Mara visit.

I have no regrets, but in truth, I never do concerning any safari!

Tom K.

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~ Have concerns about Ebola sputtered out?



When arriving in Nairobi in late July, there was a line to walk slowly through a body temperature detector.



Signs concerning Ebola risk had been removed.



Whatever factors may be adversely affecting Kenya tourism may not include Ebola, or at least there seemed to be no overt evidence of it.



What's felt around the globe is unknown to me, as here in Beijing it's unmentioned anymore.



Tom K.


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