Africa suffers from Ebola “ignorance epidemic”

Bookings plummet to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana

Even though Africa’s tourism hotspots and favourite destinations like South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana are further from the three Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa than most of Europe, tourists are staying away.

Cape Town, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam are further from Sierra Leone than Berlin is. Nairobi is more distant from Guinea than Paris. And there are more air links with Europe than between East and West Africa.

Yet safari resorts have had a disastrous year. Specialist travel agency says a survey of 500 operators in September showed a fall in bookings of between 20% and 70%.

Ebola is far from being the deadliest disease in Africa. AIDA and malaria are bigger.

Tourism is worth 10% of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa and pays the salaries of millions of people. Mass redundancies mean that many desperate people could turn to poaching.

The Economist

[pictured: Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, main lounge]

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