Trips to Africa are, plainly said, journeys of a lifetime. Which is probably why it is the last continent that most travellers choose to visit. That said, the eyeseeAfrica team couldn’t help but wonder how that philosophy might change post-Covid-19. As the traveller’s experience has shifted tremendously under the pandemic, and Africa has stepped forward as the perfect post-Covid-19 travel destination.
Resilience is the name in the African travel game
For African travel enthusiasts, the last few months have been filled with virtual safaris, waterhole live streams, our favourite African-inspired playlists, and a lot of nostalgia for the way things used to be. However, if one thing has maintained our positivity, it’s the cold comfort that travel has had a lot of experience with far-reaching disruptions through the years.
It’s easy to forget that tourism has experienced similar significant events in the past. Whether it’s pandemics, political instability, economic recession or natural disasters, tourism is no stranger to economic downturn.
The problem of overtourism in Europe
Prior to Covid-19, many popular destinations around the world were encountering peak tourist numbers. This led to a sense of overtourism, where disgruntled tourists would complain about crowded and polluted beaches, national parks or attractions.
Concerns were raised from Amsterdam to Dubrovnik about noise pollution, pressure on public facilities, and rising rents. And in what was depicted as a “global battle” between travellers and locals, anti-tourism street marches were being organised in Barcelona and Venice.
And then the world came to a standstill.
As such, this crisis has allowed much of the industry to take stock. It is clear that most people do not wish to see an end to tourism. But they do want the industry to be far more sustainable.
Travel as an agent for recovery
Countries like Namibia and South Africa rely heavily on tourism money to ensure sustainable and persistent economic growth. By bringing people together again, travel can promote solidarity and trust. All crucial ingredients to advancing the global cooperation needed at this time.
As several countries begin to ease travel restrictions, many across Africa are preparing to open their borders again. Industry players across the continent all agree that Africa is perfectly positioned to be a go-to destination for international travellers, when travel resumes fully again.
Reconnecting with nature
With So many countries around the world having enforced lockdowns, people have been unable to enjoy the outdoors. And we believe that this is something travellers will sorely have missed during this time and hope they will look to Africa to re-engage with nature and wildlife.
If Covid-19 has achieved anything, it is emphasising the importance of protecting the Earth’s biodiversity and connecting with it. Africa is home to the world’s most diverse megafauna, the greatest remaining tracts of natural habitat, and astounding biodiversity.
Health and a reconnection with nature will be a major drawing card. And in a post-Covid-19 travel world, we believe travellers will have the need to connect with nature. They will look for locally sourced, healthy food, and spiritual and mental wellness will be important. Africa has all of this in abundance.
Travel to Africa in 2021
eyeseeAfrica’s priority remains the wellbeing and safety of all our guests. While it is difficult to plan in the long term, as things remain in a constant state of flux, we firmly believe 2021 will be a blockbuster year for post-Covid-19 travel. And a watershed moment for tourism across the African continent.
Our belief in travel to Africa remains strong. We will look forward to looking back together at how a difficult time made us all more adaptable and resourceful than ever before.