Africa goes virtual to maintain its tourism

 Thursday, September 3, 2020 


Till now, COVID-19 is continually plaguing the world with businesses to temporarily or permanently close their doors and raise unemployment.

Many people worldwide have got confined to their houses to reduce the virus spread. The world has become sort of idle while waiting out the pandemic. The financial condition of every country has felt the ill effect of this new condition. The tourism sector has encountered damaging effect as stay-at-home orders and worldwide ban of travel have stopped travel completely. Tourism in Africa like many countries of the world has been immensely affected by the striking drop in travel industry.

Many countries depend on the contribution of tourism and travel sector immensely. Countries like Spain and Italy, whose tourism influences 14.3% and 13% of their annual GPA, have become weak monetarily. The direct loss of annual GDP has injured country’s economy and growth. People started losing their jobs or didn’t find any. Businesses closed down and people cannot get essential needs, skyrocketing poverty rates.

Always, Africa has depended heavily on its international visitors. As of 2020, tourism in Africa is the “second-fastest-growing tourism industry” in the world. In fact, the continent was being hoped to have another record-breaking year. Last year, the tourism industry of Ghana brought in $2 billion, providing 5.5% of the GDP. Unluckily, COVID-19 disturbed the travel plans of huge number of people. Africa lost billions of dollars, increasing the continent’s economic vulnerability.

The United Nations has explained that across the continent, the pandemic could influence at least two million jobs , leaving several unemployed and unable to support their families. The tour cancellation and loss of revenue has compelled many companies and attraction sites to shut down and lay off their employees. Mofeg Travel, the touring company, for instance has no other choice but to cancel its tours and permanently shut down. Many Africans in the tourism have faced the same situation. They have no regular income to get their daily necessities met, causing a deeper plunge into poverty.

The wildlife safaris are a major area of tourism in Africa. The United Nations World Tourism Organization observed that in 2018, the safari industry of Africa was worth $12.4 billion and it has been increasing. However, countries like Rwanda, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, which have prominent safaris, are losing foreign tourists who once were coming to experience the natural wildlife and preservation. This created a huge revenue loss, impairing the economy of the continent and the thousands who work for the safaris.

In order to manage the declining financial condition, the continent has shifted to digital programs. Here, people can see online virtual tours of African Safaris. These virtual online safaris will allow public to experience the exclusive beauty of these luxury safaris from the comfort of their homes. Travel Companies like WildEarth and andBeyond have collaborated with virtual stream popular South African Safaris’s like Ngala, Singita Sabi Sand and Tswalu Kalahari. They offer Q&A’s with expert along with the virtual tours, and special features like a 24-hour camera at a watering hole at Djuma Game Reserve.

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