March 19th, 2020

Why it's key to postpone, not cancel, your travel

Written by:

Felicia Pheasant

Category:

Sustainability

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Africa can’t wait to welcome you; help it get through this difficult time

We at Bonamy are keen to help all our clients postpone, rather than outright cancel, the wonderful holidays that we have planned together. This is a message that is shared across the entire travel industry during these difficult times.

This message to postpone is not simply because we’ll all need something to look forward to once this extraordinary period is over, but, more importantly, because we founded Bonamy on our passion for the African bush and our respect for those who live and work there and, above all, the wildlife which attracts people from all over the world.

We take huge pride and pleasure in showing guests everything there is to enjoy throughout Africa, from sun-drenched coasts to breath-taking mountains, from tented bush camps to smart hotels in big cities, from picturesque wineries to world-class restaurants. 

Angama Mara, Mara Triangle, Kenya

We therefore owe it to the rural communities, and to those whose livelihood depends on working at these hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions, to spare a thought for their needs and the impact that the sudden disappearance of tourists will have on their modest lives.

The safari lodges we work with employ a large part of their staff from the local communities near to the camps. Lodges often spend years patiently building relationships with these communities, helping them to recognise that the economic benefits that come from partnerships with neighbouring safari camps are a sound reason for helping to protect wildlife. 

The tradition whereby a young Maasai warrior would slay a lion to prove his transition into manhood is no surprise when you consider that for generations the community has seen these magnificent cats as predators which kill their precious cattle. The family with a small plot of vegetables on which they depend cannot afford to find that a herd of elephants on the move has trampled their livelihood. Now, put yourself in the position of someone poor and out of work who is offered unimaginable riches for poaching rhino horn or elephant tusks. The efforts to change attitudes have taken years of constructive community work.

Lewa Conservancy, Kenya

The entire travel industry is braced for a very difficult immediate future. Lodge operators, tour providers, airlines, transfer companies and the rest will all be severely impacted. Many will be taking extreme measures in order to make it through this difficult time. Huge numbers of lodges around Africa will have no option but to close and lay off staff while the Coronavirus keeps tourists away. A large number of cancellations may mean that many never reopen. 

For the lodges in Africa’s beautiful wilderness, we must remember that, not only will the lack of tourists have a devastating impact on people whose community really needs their wages, but there is a risk that the absence of vehicles going out on safari every day will encourage poachers (not only local, but from further afield) to step up their activities. The work of the lodges’ anti-poaching teams will need not just to be maintained, but rather increased to ensure that, by the time we can all return to the bush, the wildlife that draws us there is safe and ready to welcome us back. 

Borana Conservancy, Kenya

Equally, city hotels, small-town guesthouses and beach properties, to name but a few, support huge swathes of people, and in some places entire communities. The sudden lack of business is certain to have a profound effect on their livelihoods and those they support.

Of course, we sympathise with all of you, our guests, during these times of uncertainty, and fully understand that cancelling may seem like the most logical option to protect yourselves. With a deeper understanding of the issues at play, for your own sake as well as the sake of thousands of Africans who work in tourism, and for future generations of travellers, we sincerely ask all our thoughtful guests to do everything they can to reschedule their holidays for a future date.

By doing this, we can help ensure that Africa is ready and waiting to welcome you as soon as you can get here.  

Etosha National Park, Namibia - Wilderness Safaris

If you would like to find out more about this topic, you might like to read this article by CN Traveller on a similar subject.

To learn more about how important the tourism industry is for much of Africa, please do get in touch. Send us an email at safari@bonamy.co.uk, or call us directly on +44 (0) 20 3575 1098.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Thanks for reading,

The Bonamy Travel Team

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