SafariBookings.com, an online marketplace for African safari tours, has conducted a second survey, which included 443 safari tour operators to ascertain the impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on the safari industry. It revealed that almost all tour operators (93.2 percent) are experiencing a decline of 75 percent or more in bookings. It comes as a major blow for Africa's $12.4 billion¹ safari industry, the wildlife reserves that rely on its revenue, and the local people employed in the safari industry.
The number of seriously affected tour operators is also a a significant increase compared to SafariBookings.com’s first survey, which was conducted in the beginning of March. At that time, just under one-quarter (23.3 percent) said they saw a 75-plus percent decrease in bookings due to coronavirus.
More than two-thirds of operators surveyed (68.8 percent) said that cancellations on existing bookings were up at least 75 percent. Another 12.6 percent said they have received a 50 percent increase in cancellations, while fewer than 1 percent said it was business as usual.
When the safari operators do receive inquiries (of which, 94.1 percent say booking requests are down by 75 or more percent), more than two-thirds say guests, more often than not, have questions about coronavirus. In March, only one-fifth of safari operators replied with this answer.