African Adventre Travel - Market Research


Oct 12th, 1998, 02:02 AM
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African Adventre Travel - Market Research

Morning All

I've been involved with commercial rafting and Zimbabwe Tour Operations for the past five years. While we've enjoyed great success with the regional coporate market in the experiential learning fields we have not seen much on the international leisure market.

My questions:

Is the region considered safe?

Is info on the region accessible on the net?

Just how much "Bad press" does the region experience internationally?

Is the region perceived to be expensive?

Any answers / comments would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Neil Summers
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Oct 13th, 1998, 04:16 PM
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In the US most people think of Africa as a country. So if something happens in Zaire, all they know is that it's Africa and it's unsafe. The fact that neighbors such as Mexico & the United States or Switzerland & Italy are vastly different from each other - is an analogy that is lost on most Americans. That's your biggest obstacle here.
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Jun 29th, 1999, 06:00 AM
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There is not much information available in the United States on moderately priced trips or activities in Africa. I am always trying to convince people that they will get better deals by flying on their own to where they want to go and booking the safaris and other activities from there. But most people either don't have time to do that or aren't comfortable with the uncertainty. So their only alternative is too book an extremely expensive all-inclusive tour. I think more people would visit if they were able to get information on affordable options.

As to whether Americans perceive the region (Zimbabwe/South Africa?) as safe--I think people are mostly concerned about getting sick from the drinking water or food. They hear stories from people who have been to West Africa or Mexico or places like that and assume Southern Africa is the same way. I think a lot of people are also under the misconception that there are no hospitals or doctors in these countries.

Re: Bad press--South Africa receives a lot of bad press, particularly regarding its crime. Zimbabwe receives no press at all. I am sure that the vast majority of Americans have no idea where Zimbabwe is.

Best marketing strategy in my opinion would be to take at small classified advertisements in American adventure magazines like Outside. They are usually organized by country or region, and a lot of people go there to book trips.
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Jun 29th, 1999, 01:55 PM
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Much of what has been said here matches our experiences. We traveled in Kenya and Tanzania in 1996. Much of what Americans know (or think they know) about Africa is what they have seen on television or read in the papers. Or they have talked with friends who have been there, the "resident experts." In no particular order, the impressions are about what you would expect: disease, discomfort, animals, danger, hostile blacks, overcharging, bad food, bugs, heat, things that go bump in the night. Frankly, I do not know how one overcomes these attitudes, second-hand reports, and the constant images of riots, explosions, AK-47s, starving people, beggars, lice, charging beasts, and children with enormous eyes and protruding bellies. Most African TV programs show men and women wearing L. L. Bean clothing puttering around in the bush, sneaking up on animals, and whispering sotto voce to the camera. Compared with our personal experiences, the gulf is miles wide. When we told the truth, none of our friends believed us. Sad -- it's their loss.
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