The changing face of the safari traveler

NEW YORK -- The profile of the safari traveler is changing, according to Dennis Pinto, director of New York-based Micato Safaris.

Ostriches are just one of the many animals that bring people to Africa. "While previously our travelers were generally in the 55 to 70-plus age bracket, we are now finding that our safaris appeal to the younger traveler, with many people in their 40s booking ."

Contributing to this younger demographic is the strength of the economy and baby boomers looking for diverse vacations.

These baby boomers demand more than just an animal safari. "Fueled by success in their professional and personal lives, baby boomers require more from their vacation than merely two weeks in an exotic location," Pinto said.

"They desire education on the culture and history of the countries they visit, greater interaction with local people and emphasis on outdoor activity."

Micato has met this demand by offering nature walks, interaction with the Masai tribe and lectures by Philip Leakey, a member of the renowned Leakey family.

Another interesting trend Micato is witnessing is an increased number of single travelers, according to Pinto. This is seen especially during the months of April, May and June, when the single supplement fee is waived. Pinto added that 70% of Micato's single passengers are women.

Family safaris are another niche market that's becoming quite popular. "All eight of our family safari departures scheduled for 1999 were sold out," he said. "In response to the demand, we are operating nine unpublished dates, bringing the total to 17 family safari departures for the year," Pinto said.

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