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Africa's $12.4 billion safari industry devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic

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Survey of 443 safari tour operators concluded that almost all are experiencing at least a 75% decline in business due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a major blow for Africa's US$12.4 billion¹ safari industry, the wildlife reserves that rely on its revenue, and the local people employed in the safari industry.

SafariBookings.com, an online marketplace for African safari tours, has conducted a second survey which involved 443 safari tour operators to ascertain the impact that the coronavirus is having on the safari industry. It revealed that almost all tour operators are experiencing a decline of 75% or more in bookings. This is a significant increase compared to our first survey that was conducted in the beginning of March. As one operator told us, “things are very bad at the moment as the whole world is on lock-down and people are scared to book anything until the fear subsides and this virus is brought under control.”

More than 90% of operators said they had lost at least 75% of bookings they normally rely upon at this time of year. It’s a devastating blow for local staff, “COVID-19 has really destroyed our business – it came so suddenly, without any warning. We have staff who entirely depend on this industry for their survival.”

More than two thirds of operators surveyed said that cancellations on existing bookings were up at least 75% while less than 1% said it was business as usual. One Kenyan operator noted, “we are receiving about 90% cancellations due to COVID-19, and no new booking requests at the moment. We have hit rock bottom.”

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