Ebola: Africa’s tourism affected by infection fear

Posted: November 30, 2014 in travel & tourism

Due to fear of the Ebola virus, Countries in eastern and southern Africa are facing crippling economic circumstances, with hundreds of safari companies hit with a decline of up to 70% in bookings.

Paul Rickard owner of Hello World Caloundra said that every customer who had booked a safari tour to African countries before the Ebola outbreak had contacted him concerned for their welfare if they were to go. He had explained the situation to each of them and showed them on a map where the outbreak was and where they would be travelling and said there would be no threat to them. All of them continued with their travel plans.

In fact, Mr. Rickard said now was the perfect time to travel to safari countries such as Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These countries are at least 4800km from the Ebola outbreak area.

“In reality, London and Paris are closer to the Ebola than Nairobi in flying time,” Mr Rickard said.

According to a September report by SafariBookings revealed that half of the 500 safari companies surveyed were struggling with a 20-70% turn down in bookings.

Wouter Vergeer SafariBookings spokesman said “The safari countries’ distance from the outbreak zone made the risk of infection to tourists “effectively zero”. The virus is not airborne and only spreads if people come in contact with bodily fluids – such as blood, sweat or saliva – of an infected person. For this reason, not a single country in the world has issued an Ebola-related travel warning against any of the major safari countries.”

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