Coronavirus lockdowns have struck the tourism industry in Africa hard. Overnight trips, hotel reservations were cancelled, postponed safaris and abandoned cultural tours. The tourism sector of Africa was poised for a lucrative year at the beginning of 2020. It has the second most rapidly expanding tourism industry in the world and is predicted to reap trillions of dollars. However, when COVID-19 struck, visitors stopped coming and the sector stopped unexpectedly.
Global travellers have often relied on tourism throughout the continent. But now Africa’s tourism industry can not adapt fast enough to prevent a crash, which is a risky combination of the national lockdowns, small local tourism customers and industry for the highly-services international tourists.
The safaris that usually prowl East Africa’s Serengeti in search of a perfect wildlife picture are standing still, and Botswana’s Okavango Delta luxury camps are gathering dust.
In 2019, Ghana generated more than 5.5 per cent of GDP in the western African nation to $1,9 million ( € 1,75 billion) from tourism.
In most West African nations, the organization usually conducts seven tour operations a year – the cancellation of six tour operations results in the agency’s absence for the whole year and at least 20 tour guides and other workers becoming unemployed.
The story is similar in N8tive Restaurant & Bar, which is not far away from Kotoka Airport in Accra, Ghana. The overwhelming majority of the bar’s clientele consists of locals, business people or foreigners who work in Ghana. They are usually foreigners. Now, most of these clients are gone. Kwame Bekoe, the owner of the restaurant, said the income was low.
Bekoe is now concentrating on winning local customers in order to remain afloat. DW said that deliveries at home and the workplace are a top priority. Surprisingly, Bekoe has not yet fired his workers. Samuel Kwaku Yeboah, one of his workers, is thankful for the job.
Africa-wide conservation programs are still struggling. The Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, on the banks of Lake Victoria, has traditionally intrigued guests to see their lions, giraffes, white rhinos and chimpanzees. The facility consists of more than 291 animals, all of which require food and health treatment from 52 species.
But Uganda has been forced to keep the centre close to tourists by lock-down. The implications are serious: tourist income has decreased to approximately $50,000. If funding is not found early, the wildlife centre could close for good. Musinguzi is equally concerned to keep tourists out of the centre after the lockdown has been lifted due to concerns that the animals of the centre may have viruses similar to the novel coronavirus which scientists believe were built on wild animals.
Tanzania is renowned for its safari company around Lake Victoria – from lions in the Serengeti to elephants mixed up in the Ngorongoro and flamingos in Lakes Manyara. Lake Victoria There is no west tourist safari vehicle to see them except now. Coronavirus has been hit hard by safari operator Elia Richard from Into Africa – 99% of its customers are worldwide. Often stuck between consumers who want their money back and accommodation that does not want to leave a deposit. It caused significant issues with cash flow.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 customers in Africa are attracted annually and some are paying up to $7,000 for a safari per passenger. That is before visitors buy souvenirs, offer tips or pay park fees, inject money into local economies. Since Tanzania has not locked and is still pursuing a business-as-usual strategy, local tourism operators are not eligible for government support.
This pandemic illustrates the real deficit of Africa’s tourism industry for Kobby Mensah at the University of Ghana Business School. The fact that many of the tourism firms are small companies makes the sustainability of a world crisis even more difficult.
Data Source: DW
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