Next year may be a difficult one for the economy, with fears of Ebola, crime and terrorism keeping tourists away.
According to a survey by the GeoBranding Centre, in partnership with AIG Travel, travellers regard southern Africa to be as risky as Mexico and Central America.
Titled the Global Anxiety Audit, the report found “one in four global travellers ditched travel plans over safety concerns in 2015; Africa suffers most, with 53 percent of leisure tourists unwilling to go due to worries about personal safety and 46 percent fearful of diseases like Ebola”.
This is despite the fact Ebola has been eradicated and the outbreak affected only a handful of countries on the continent. Security is not much of a concern for American tourists. They, however, need compelling reasons to travel.
“A study of 2 000 travellers reveals US tourists are less concerned with crime and security in Africa versus those from Germany and the UK, but Americans are more in need of a ‘real reason to go’.”
All is not lost, though, as some travellers showed a desire to visit the southern tip of the continent.
The report states: “A notable 20 percent would like to visit southern Africa; word-of-mouth endorsements remain very positive about Africa overall; and worries about costs and flights are dwindling, making safety reassurance, compelling offers and unique experiences key to attracting visitors.”
Nigel Vere Nicoll, CEO of the African Travel and Tourism Association, said: “Africa has the best tourism product in the world, and for more reasons than people may think.
“We know of nowhere else in the world where you can get a good meal with wine for such a low cost as you can in South Africa; it is untouchable.”