Operators Expect Strong Year Ahead

sdAfrica’s tourism industry has had a turbulent 12 months in the wake of recent safety and health concerns, but enquiries are again filtering through and operators are confident of a full recovery.

A&K managing director Sujata Raman told travelBulletin that 2015 was a “tough year” for all parts of Africa following the Ebola outbreak and the highly publicised terrorist attack in Nairobi. But with enquiry levels now showing signs of recovery, she conceded that demand for travel was on the rise.

“It’s very pleasing to see that enquiry levels have started to go up again, and the general feeling across the industry is that 2016 is going to see significant pent up demand,” she said.

Raman predicted that southern Africa and Botswana would recover faster than east Africa, while Kenya and Tanzania would likely see incremental gains in the following 12 months.

Sanctuary Retreats director of sales for Australia, New Zealand and Asia Michael McCall added that the level of interest for 2016 was “certainly up on 2015”.

While last minute bookings were the norm over the past 12 months, he added that lead times were longer than previous years, with many bookings now filtering through for 2016. He also noted an increase in uptake of hosted group safaris and voluntourism.

Meanwhile, Bench International general manager Martin Edwards claimed that east Africa was now “coming back”, with sales and enquiries for the month of June “far better” than last year. “This year has been topsy turvy because the peak booking season is generally early in the year, and people have held off on their travel plans until now. But they are now looking to commit and we are obviously very happy with that,” he told travelBulletin.

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