Safari tour operators revealed a drop in business of at least 75 percent which will result in a huge revenue loss in the African safari industry. Photography: Frans Van Heerden/Pexels

Covid-19 pandemic sinking Safari industry

Cape Town  – The eighth survey of 294 safari tour operators revealed a staggeringly steep drop in business of at least 75 percent which results in an economic impact of US$12.4 billion in the African safari industry.

The survey conducted a comprehensive analysis of the impact of the  Coronavirus pandemic in the safari industry and the associated drop in international tourism arrival numbers.

Tour operators expressed that they have experienced a disturbing decline in bookings of at least 75 percent which is unsustainable in the long term for most businesses. 

A tour operator said: “The impact from the Coronavirus in Tanzania has been devastating. The tourism industry in this country employs so many people. Most, if not all, safari companies have no business. The staff cannot pay their rent or buy food, it is a very sad situation.

The Coronavirus has affected more than 80 percent of the safari business in Tanzania, said in a statement.

In Namibia tour operators said during this time they would have secured at least 90 percent booking, but they were not at a third of that number.

Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Namibia have reopened their borders for tourism. Except for Tanzania, these safari countries require proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within a couple of days before flying. Rwanda, Uganda and Namibia require additional testing upon arrival – a couple of days after arriving in the country or shortly before leaving the country.

While South African tour operators were hopeful due to the reopening of borders, they also expressed concern because at least 60 countries were still prohibited from entering the country.