“The best safari lodges in Africa have gone all-out to be Covid-appropriate,” says Deon De Villiers, a safari expert with inside knowledge of the tourism industry in Africa.
Africa tourism influx expected post-covid says Safari Guru.
Luxury overseas holidays, or any holidays for that matter, have been severely curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The tourism industry worldwide is among the hardest hit sectors out there – and in Africa, the lack of tourist dollars to fund conservation efforts is being felt. “The best safari lodges in Africa have gone all-out to be Covid-appropriate,” says Deon De Villiers, a safari expert with inside knowledge of the tourism industry in Africa. “Nevertheless, cross-border travel has been difficult in the last year and no matter how well-run these sites are, they’re experiencing record lows that they couldn’t possibly have anticipated.”
But with the rollout of vaccines now a reality, there are hopes that Africa’s tourism industry will recover. In fact, with so many people having postponed travel for over a year, an influx of tourists is not only hoped for but expected. “People are already making bookings,” says Deon, “and the safari destinations are offering flexibility in case there are further delays down the line. That means a very good chance that they’ll be fully-booked the moment world travel resumes.”
“Fully Booked” and “Crowded” not the same thing – if one can secure a booking. Himself a veteran of African travel with an inside view of safari lodge management, Deon is quick to note that “fully booked” and “crowded” are two different things. “In Africa, safari lodges are well aware of people’s need to escape crowds. Even at full capacity, these establishments offer peace and quiet and a means like none other to get away from the hustle and bustle. They’re never crowded, but there’s an expectation that they will be filled to capacity once Covid-related concerns have been cleared out of the way.”
The “rush” on tourist facilities in Africa may not feel like one to the leisure travellers who arrive post-covid, but De Villiers believes that it’s only the early birds that will be able to secure their places in the African sun. “Knowing where to go and what to do in Africa is Safari Guru’s business,” he notes, “and it seems that those who wait too long may have limited options if they delay before committing to their African holiday. The world is lockdown weary, and those with sufficient foresight are already making their plans now.”
Tourism influx is not only expected, but absolutely necessary. While Deon De Villers, his team, and his network of tourism professionals in Africa are looking forward to the big rush they’re expecting once international travel resumes, Deon admits to being concerned for the future.
“If international travel doesn’t resume soon, many of the lodges Safari Guru works with will face a very uncertain future,” he says. “Most worrying of all is the future of conservation efforts. So far, the primary reason why Africa has been able to maintain extensive nature reserves, wildlife, and wilderness areas has been the fact that it’s more profitable than farming. Conservation has been largely funded by tourism. Take away the tourism, and the social pressure to put the land to other uses will rise while conservation programs become underfunded to the point where they can no longer function.”
Australia may have been surprised to see that Qantas has reopened flight bookings as of 1st July 2021. There’s speculation that the airline consulted with government insiders, and it is likely that its prediction will be fairly accurate. To Deon and his network, this comes as welcome news, and he urges Australians to plan their trips accordingly.
One of the Safari Guru ‘Destination Specialists’ has already spent several weeks in Kenya evaluating COVID safety protocols across some of their preferred partner properties, “a crucial element of keeping close to our respected suppliers in today’s travel safe climate” says Deon. The findings were not only that efforts were of extreme high quality, but also that the ease of travel in the current climate were exceptionally good.
Now that there’s a realistic-seeming date for travel to resume, people can book with more confidence than ever. Safari Guru’s service is completely personalised and with its inside knowledge of African travel and dedication to individualised travel experiences, the holiday people have been dreaming of for a year or more may well be on the cards in just a few more months. Beating the rush means preparing for the journey now. Getting what they want from Africa means choosing a boutique agency with inside knowledge like Safari Guru.
For more information visit the African Travel Specialist | Safari Guru website or call Deon De Villiers and his team of experts on (+61) 0427 782 226.
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