The Covid-19 pandemic has closed international travel. In the source markets governments have been able to provide furlough funding for staff.
As Justin Francis has pointed out on LinkedIn :
Being dependent on the tourism industry for putting food on the table or sending your kids to school is very different to relying on it for your holiday. #Coronavirus will hit the poorest in tourism destinations hardest. And the poorest will be hardest hit as the governments close the airports to defend against importing Covid-19 and the the originating markets closed.
There are many examples of businesses in destinations which are fund raising to support local people and wildlife. Here are just a few.
Trans-frontier Parks Destinations (TFPD) is approaching clients, operators and agents who sell community owned lodges to contribute to relief funds incentivised by entry into a draw for a fully-inclusive stay and a guaranteed discount on their next booking. !Xaus Lodge is the pride and joy of the local ‡Khomani San and Mier communities.
Sadly, the Coronavirus pandemic has decimated our business and forced us to close our doors, probably until December, according to our Minister of Tourism. Right now, our thirty-two loyal and amazing hospitality staff, guides and resident crafters are sitting at home wondering about their futures. Sadly too, the lodge is again standing abandoned in the desert waiting for the world to return to normal. We are determined that !Xaus Lodge will not become the “white elephant” its owners once feared it would be. But in the absence of any guest income, we need your help to achieve this. Together with your support we can protect the livelihoods of our crafters and local staff as well as protect !Xaus Lodge from the elements. Then when the time is right, it can re-open and again enable visitors to understand why it is that the ‡Khomani San say “once you have the red sand of the Kalahari in your shoes you will always return.” donate
Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge is owned by the Batlokoa community in Phuthaditjhaba.
Right now, fifty-five amazing hospitality staff and guides are sitting at home uncertain of the future and their ability to support their extended families and neighbours as they have done in the past. We are resolute that Witsieshoek will survive this crisis and continue to play the role it has in contributing to the well-being of the Batlokoa community. But in the absence of any guest income, they need you, our former guests and friends, to help us achieve this. donate
Fair Trade Tourism South Africa has pointed out that the “crisis has shone a light on many of the unFair Trade dynamics in the sector and the pause over the coming weeks gives us all time to reflect, to assess, and to redefine how we want travel and tourism to look going forward; to acknowledge the impacts we have; and to unpack the trade dynamics that need to be addressed. It has given us time to remember that humanity comes before commerce and that we need to look out for each other however we can.” They list many businesses which have launched fundraisers to offset lost income (and tips) for their staff Coffee Shack Backpackers & Umlani Bushcamp, stepped up their philanthropic efforts Uthando (Love) SA , Spier has continued to support its partnerships with local communities, Sani Lodge Backpackers, Isibindi Africa Lodges is raising funds to purchase and deliver masks, sanitisers and food parcels to its neighbours. Bulungula Lodge completely repurposed the lodge, it was closed to travellers and converted into a Safe Home for the elderly and those deemed most vulnerable. Ubuntu Beds has united hospitality businesses (and their empty beds) with the healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.
Tourism is an important source of funding to the conservation of wildlife and habitat.
Ol Pejeta is a leading example of the positive impact of tourism on wildlife conservation, it is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa with 100 black rhinos, and it is home to two of the world’s last remaining northern white rhino. They will be hit hard as tourism revenue ceases. They are encouraging people to book now for a visit in the future, they have organised a children’s art competition The Art of Survival Ol Pejeta is looking for emergency funding. “We pride ourselves for being self-sustainable mostly from tourism but COVID-19 is having an impact on our sustainability model. With global travel restrictions tourism is now severely compromised. The impact is so significant that we won’t be able to sustain all our efforts for too long.” Donate here.
Join Ol Pejeta’s daily live broadcast of Sofa Safari on Instagram or Facebook. Their MD, Richard Vigne and champion guide, Samuel Mbogo, will take you on the game drive you are dreaming of. From elephants, to rhinos, to dung beetles and birds, we will make sure that you get your Ol Pejeta fix. Catch them daily from 4:30pm EAT.
Fears of surge in elephant poaching as coronavirus halts tourism
Lockdown cripples the ecotourism industry, which is central to conservation efforts. This in turn leads to new challenges in protecting the vulnerable African elephant. “96 elephants were killed in Africa, every single day, prior to the pandemic. That number could see a dramatic rise as a result of the pandemic,” warns Holly Budge, Founder of How Many Elephants, a UK-based charity, to protect elephants in Africa and support rangers who defend them. more
World Animal Protection is campaigning to raise funds to care for over 2,000 elephants in the tourism camps in Thailand closed by the pandemic. Across Africa the closure of safari tourism, due to the coronavirus pandemic, is decimating the industry, and leading to an increase in poaching as people struggle to stay alive. more