How Covid-19 is Bleeding African Tourism
Africa’s Game Reserves, Parks, Beaches and Historic sites that attracted a large number of foreign tourists before the COVID-19 pandemic are in trouble – the type that may take long before they recover from.
The pandemic has put businesses all over the world on their toes, forcing many to devise other means to sustain cash flow while some have had to lay off a chunk of their staff to survive.
Africa’s recreational industry and the aviation sector are the most affected by the month-long Covid-19 lockdown that confined everyone to their homes. Even as many African nations have eased the lockdown, most safari tourism businesses, a multibillion-dollar sector, on the continent are still under locks and keys.
Like others, Somkhanda, a community-owned “Big 5” Game Reserve in South Africa has pivoted to meat selling as it now faces a loss of up to 90 percent of its revenues.
The reserve had in the past sold its meat, albeit cheaply, or sometimes they are given away to reduce the population of its animals every year – depending on the weather condition and the availability of pasture needed to nurture wildlife. This was done as a stock management strategy.
“During dry winter months when water and nutrition for game were reduced, sustainably harvesting Somkhanda’s game numbers helped to protect the remaining animals from starvation,” said Meiring Prinsloo, the game reserve’s manager.
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Now, the pandemic has forced the company into commercial meat marketing. The game reserve, which before Covid-19 was said to be sought-after for restaurants and foreign tourists, is now raking in about USD 2,875 to USD 5,730 monthly from the commercial sale of meat.
“Instead of culling and just giving that meat away or selling it at a very low price locally, we tried to market it. We would rather have the doors open,” said Roelie Kloppers, Chief Executive at the Wildlands, a co-manager of the reserve in the heart of northern Zululand.
Read the rest of the story in the latest edition of our digital magazine here: Find it on pages 72 & 73.
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