LONDON – May 28, 2018 – Most people considering a holiday in Africa would be swayed by eco-tourism and conservation efforts in choosing a country and activities while there, according to the results of a new survey.
While environmental and wildlife conservation initiatives have not traditionally been associated with many areas of Africa, particularly regarding controversial big-game hunting, many places are now actively engaged in sustainable tourism. Such programmes are seen as key to protecting all sides: the animals and their environment, as well as respective countries’ tourism-reliant economies and maintaining the flow of foreign tourists.
However, despite the survey respondents’ overwhelming support of conservation efforts in Africa, big-game or “trophy” hunting of the continent’s famous animals continues, drawing outrage around the world when such killings are revealed in the media. It may be because of public revulsion of the unnecessary slaying of majestic animals that potential tourists and the tour operators organising their visits are increasingly coming out against such activities and backing conservation efforts.
Altogether, 51.1% of those polled by Google Surveys in May for Mombo Camp, a leading safari camp in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, agreed with the statement that ecotourism was “very important” because “conservation efforts are essential” when on safari in Africa. However, 28.7% were oblivious and didn’t care either way about conservation efforts in African countries. 20.3% said they agreed that they were “somewhat important”.
Africa is one of the few places in the world where tourists can combine a safari and beach holiday, and almost equal numbers of respondents to the Mombo Camp survey expressed a desire to do both. While 27.2% said they would love to spend an African dream holiday lazing on a white-sand beach in Africa, such as in Zanzibar, others (27%) wanted to go on safari and stay at a sumptuous safari camp.
But 10.4% of those who expressed a preference said they would love to climb a towering mountain like Mt Kilimanjaro — Africa’s tallest — while 6.6% wanted to go trekking in an African rainforest. Just 3.3% would love the chance to visit traditional villages and meet local tribespeople while in Africa.
Africa is home to the “Big Five” group of majestic animals that attract people from all over the world, and the Mombo Camp survey sought respondents’ views on which they would most like to see. African elephants won out, getting 32.2% of the vote, while 26.2% opted for lions, 16.1% for rhinos, 14.9% for leopards and 4.9% wanted to see buffalo in their natural environment. A total of 30.6% didn’t want to see any of the Big Five if on holiday in Africa.
Are African safaris only for the rich, and did respondents think they could ever afford to go on one? Most (37%) said they didn’t think they could ever afford an African safari; 26.6% expressed the view that the cost of a safari was not a concern for them; 23.8% said it would be expensive but they would save up for it; 7.1% agreed with the statement “I think safaris are reasonably priced”; and 5.5% thought safaris were “fairly cheap”.
They were also asked what qualities they would look for in a travel firm organising an African safari for them. Of those who would be interested in such a service, the majority (28%) said it would be solid experience and contacts in Africa. Others (17.5%) would prioritise low prices while 8.6% would favour a travel firm being able to respond quickly to any queries.
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