The much-anticipated reopening of the Kenya-Tanzania border will boost tourism between the two countries in September, a survey indicates.
This is after months of raking in losses due to lockdowns and suspension of international travel occasioned by coronavirus pandemic.
According to a monthly survey by safaribookings.com, 344 respondents said that 75 percent of their ventures in the tourism industry have been making losses since March when international travel was suspended across many countries in the world.
For Africa, the survey further reports, her tourism industry valued at $12.4 billion has been hard hit economically as revenues shrink forcing millions earning a living from this sector to remain at home jobless.
“Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has affected big my safari business. Last year at this time we received over 15 enquiries and around 5 were converted into bookings, but nowadays we have had only two: one declined, another one pending. But at least we are starting to get some enquiries – we hope that soon it will be business as usual,” an operator from Tanzania said.
Now players in the tourism industry in the East and Southern Africa are optimistic that things will get better in the coming days though some admit that business is still very low at the moment.
Cancellation of bookings tops the list of challenges for the operators.
“No inquires, we have only been refunding deposits that we have received,” a Ugandan tour operator noted.
“There have been 2 new bookings only since March and both for 2021 (June and November). Nothing for 2020 as clients are scared of travelling and I do not want to push them,” another one added.
The operators now say a review of safety protocols such a mandatory 14-day quarantine will help in bolstering the sector once more.
“As a tour operator, I would like to see nations ease lockdown on airspace, and no 14-day quarantine on tourists,” a tour operator from Tanzania stated.
Another optimistic operator from Tanzania added that: “There are pretty much signs that some recovery will begin, probably in the next month once the border between Tanzania and Kenya opens, and as more flights are starting – we believe that the chances are high that business will improve by at least 50%.”
Safaribookings.com conducts monthly surveys on African safari tour operators to obtain a deeper understanding of the impact the pandemic on their ventures.