Economic Troubles

Sep 29th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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Economic Troubles

Have any of you who frequent Africa seen a reduction in American/European tourists? Have the camps been empty?

I am wondering what this is going to do over the next 1-3 years for that market.

May be a good time to store a little away to get a good deal.

scootr29 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 12:17 PM
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african destinations were fantastic with europeans based on the weak dollar in the past year or two.

but despite of the weak $ there were MANY american tourists in southern and eastern africa!

maybe in view to kenya it will change next year slightly as the $ is still down (not as much as 4 weeks ago but still..) and the parkfees/conservation fees almost double from 40$/pppd to 75/80$ in some areas around massai mara.

there is the fifa worldcup in the pipeline which will make up for some decrease as long as the room rates don't are rocketing.

i would assume it's remaining on this year's level if the recession in the US is not too massive.

i trade also in $ and have got a good bolster (1,56euro which keeps me favourably swinging for some time
(i live in austria)

divine54 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Look for a sharp reduction in safari tourists from all countries. The economic slowdown is global and the entire travel industry will certainly feel the pinch. This may provide opportunities for some but even those who can still afford expensive trips will feel uncomfortable spending large amounts on expensive destinations (i.e., Africa). Some camps may have to close down so advance payments might bring some risk. Most travel insurance policies are fussy on how they cover the policyholder for financial default. I think it would be wise to use an insurer (not AIG) that does cover financial default. Even then their terms are never quite clear. My guess that for those who are able to act on short notice, bargains will be available.
Temba is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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Hi Scootr,
I haven't the experience of travelling in Kenya/ Tanzania to know whether the occupancy we experienced in August/September this year was way below normal or just a little.
All our Kenyan camps were less than half full, still suffering even in high season, after the troubles in January.
In Tanzania although not every camp/ lodge was 100% full most were nearly so. I believe some agents have said that many customers originally booked into Kenya switched into Tanzanian destinations instead.
Kavey is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 01:53 PM
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I think what you witnessed was in response to the troubles regarding the election in Kenya. I thought scootr was refering to the current economic troubles.
Temba is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 02:05 PM
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Yes, sorry, I meant to add... given that I'd only been to those two countries, I felt it was impossible to assess what percentage of reduction in tourism was down to economic situation and what percentage down to the troubles in Kenya earlier in the year.
Kavey is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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To put a different twist on the title Economic Troubles, are any of you altering or nixing travel plans?
atravelynn is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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We were in Kenya the last of June and noticed that the number of tourists was way down. I thought it was because of the conflict that plagued the country earlier in the year.
emowens is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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On my recent flights to Africa (HNL-SFO-JFK-JNB and back all were completely full. I'd guess to say the SAA flights (Airbus 300 & 600)were mostly American tourists.
Didn't meet a single American in Kgalagadi-all we met were from South Africa and a couple from Italy, though it's not a tourist destination by far.
Awaiting a quote for an all Zimbabwe trip for next year...depending on the price of airfare and land costs, I am still considering going.
matnikstym is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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Interesting topics and very relevant. Wall St. versus Main Street and the largest loss in stock market history today, and the events of the last weeks/months have dramatically effected the World economy. And of course dependance on foreign oil.

Home foreclosures, sub prime lending (which is hitting Europe as well) is causing major consolidations and lost pension plans and ira's for millions of Americans. And now our congress as they call themselves (up for re-election) can not put aside politics to solve the problems.

So my guess, is a lot less travel. We already booked and paid, but I agree with some of the prior posts in that perhaps shorter lead times might still enable many Americans to visit Africa. Depending on what happens with the airline consolidations globally. Italia Air was one of those recently. Five dollars or pounds for a pillow and blanket is not good.

just my view.
realoc is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 12:24 AM
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Not cancelling any plans here but I never book travel on credit. I book a trip only once I know we have sufficient funds in our account to pay it off at the time of booking (even if we don't actually need to pay the balance until a later date).

I guess, if I was even more cautious, I might think about the wisdom of guarding that money in the bank incase we find work harder to come by (as we are both self-employed that's a realistic possibility) but as we've paid off our house, the worse that can happen is that we have to take on work we wouldn't normally choose for a few months in order to cover bills and groceries.
Kavey is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 03:43 AM
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I had started to plan a Tanzania/Rwanda safari to be followed by 2 months in Africa next January, but put the whole thing on hold in early August (due to uncertain financial markets). The operator I was dealing with in Arusha said that North American bookings had dropped substantially due to the financial markets and uncertainty. If that was the situation in August, then it can't be getting better.
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Sep 30th, 2008, 05:25 AM
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Kavey - how are plans coming along for Antarctica ... if I recall correctly, you're going back this year???
eenusa is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 06:36 AM
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scootr29 started an interesting thread. Please try and not hijack it. If you are interested in another forum members travel plans to a destination other than an African safari lodge or camp, it would be appropriate to ask that question in the Lounge. No offense but forum etiquette is often ignored on the forum and given the terrible state of the Fodor search engine, it is hopeless to sort through unrelated posts. Again, no offense...
Temba is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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I think the effects will show in future bookings, say 6 - 12 months out. People going right now have typically already paid for most or all of the trip several months ago.

Kenya is a different story, they shot themselves in the foot with the election riots. When we were there in January we were the only guests at one lodge and the first guests in 11 days at Kichwa Tembo, and the lodge at Nakuru was 20% full. But Tanzania was bustling.
Bill_H is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 08:14 AM
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We just got back from the Mara and both camps we were at were full (Little Governor's and Il Moran), mostly Europeans, a few Americans. The manager of Little Governor's told us that their occupancy had been steadily increasing for some time.

Rwanda was full as well, with mostly Americans. Although the rumor is that the gorilla permit fees are going up to $1000 next year, which might put a damper on occupancy.
loru100 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Wow, Temba -- had no intention of hijacking the thread !!!!! atrevalynn posted: "To put a different twist on the title Economic Troubles, are any of you altering or nixing travel plans?" I thought it only appropriate to ask the question since we all know from a much earlier thread that Kavey is/was planning Antarctica ... Kavey ... never mind, don't amswer the question.
eenusa is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Author: eenusa
Date: 09/30/2008, 03:27 pm

Kavey ... never mind, don't amswer the question.

Now you you got it.

Temba is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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I haven't altered or nixed any travel plans (other than my usual flip flopping ). I just booked a non-Africa trip last week for next Feb. I thought about waiting to see if there would be discounting but the lodges I wanted (and IMO there really wasn't anything else comparable) were starting to book up and I thought it not worth the risk to wait for savings that may or may not materialize. Thinking about Africa in late 2009 but I typically don't plan anything more than a year out so it's still a little early for me to do any serious planning. This year I was mainly in Kenya which is impossible to separate from the election.
Patty is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 07:04 PM
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I thought I was in the clear..I had all my Africa money in my account starting in March...then last Monday, I went to pay...and it turns out it was in the Reserve Fund money market which broke the bank...kind of a rude broker is covering even while they can't get the $$ from the reserve fund, so my Africa trip end of Oct is officially paid for and safe...but I have to say, I'm rethinking what I will spend next year. I'm just really glad I booked it while the going were good and didn't put it off!
lovejl is offline  

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