Outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has affected tourism not only in the region but the whole continent.
Travellers have cancelled their trips to countries not only affected by the Ebola virus but also those unaffected causing a depression in the tourism sector.
Africa’s tourism industry is feeling the effects of concerns about Ebola which has killed more than 4,500 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea since the outbreak earlier this year.
A recent poll by travel show producer Unicomm shows that 40% of 6,200 active travelers say they will “likely limit travel outside the USA in the next 30 days” and more than 12% said they would not travel internationally because of Ebola concerns.
The tourism of countries which have mostly been affected by this Ebola tragedy include Kenya, South Africa and Bostwana despite the fact that they are thousands of miles away from West Africa which is mostly affected.
Countries in West Africa have also felt the effect of the disease. Nigeria was on Monday declared free of Ebola by the World Organisation (WHO). However, a report shows that ccupancy rates in five-star hotels in the commercial capital Lagos have fallen drastically.
Many conferences have been postponed until further notice, according to Nigerian economist Bismarck Rewane of the Financial Derivatives Company, who spoke to the Associated Press.
Ashish Sanghrajka, president of Florida-based Big Five Tours & Expeditions, told Latimes that, “The tragedy of Ebola goes far beyond the heartbreaking suffering of the people in hardest-hit West Africa.”
“Behind the scenes, another lesser known level of devastation is taking place. Tourism to Africa’s great wildlife destinations including Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and Botswana is in free-fall, as travelers scheduled to go on safari holidays cancel in droves.”
Several countries in and around Africa have decided to put travel restrictions since the Ebola outbreak.
Even though WHO and international trade groups say there is low risk of transmitting the virus during air travel, major airlines such as British Airways, Kenya Airways and Air France have cancelled flights to some Ebola-hit countries.
“A holiday is a very discretionary purchase. Nobody has to go on holiday to Africa, or to anywhere else in the world. Everybody has lots of choices, including staying at home,” according to Chris McIntyre from UK tour company Expert Africa.