The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has taken a toll on safari tourism in eastern and southern Africa, according to a report issued Monday by Netherlands-based website Safaribookings.com.
The company surveyed 500 safari tour operators, half of which reported that bookings are down between 20% and 70% due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which is about 3,500 miles from safari destinations.
Safaribookings.com said the impact is being felt more in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) than in southern Africa.
“It is a heavy blow for the industry and the numerous wildlife reserves that rely on its revenue,” Safaribookings.com said.
Safaribookings.com said that many tourists have lumped African countries together as a single entity and are staying away.
The company stated, “They don't realize that east and southern Africa, where most safaris are conducted, are just as far from the outbreak area as [locations in] Europe or South America.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of Monday there were 5,843 probable, confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola, and 2,803 reported deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against travel to those three countries.
In Nigeria, 20 cases and eight deaths have been reported, and in Senegal, one case and no deaths have been reported. The CDC currently advises that travelers take precautions when traveling to Nigeria or Senegal.
Photo of giraffes courtesy of Shutterstock.com.
Correction: The countries where there are Ebola outbreaks are about 3,500 miles from safari destinations in eastern Africa, not 2,000 as reported previously.