Article | September 10, 2020
As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, tourism-dependent regions are suffering exponentially. The continent of Africa is one glaring example, with South Africa propelled into the global top 10 for coronavirus infections, reportedly now surpassing the United Kingdom in cases. For its part, the tourism and industrial sectors in North Africa will likely be hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the African Development Bank’s 2020 edition North Africa Economic Outlook report.
Even as Africa contends with pandemic concerns, there are still throngs of travelers who are keen to visit the region in the near future. Many are doing diligence to discern if, when and how to go about scheduling a trip to this tourism hotspot.
To help spotlight some top-line issues, I turned to entrepreneur and philanthropist Jay Cameron, Executive Director of Maximum Impact Travel. As one of the leading global experts on Africa travel and commerce, Cameron’s insights are invaluable as travelers deal with this tumultuous situation, helping ensure they plan smartly in the post-pandemic era.
MK: What are the key do’s and don’ts when traveling to Africa amid COVID-19?
JC: Surprisingly, some African countries have escaped the devastating impacts COVID-19 has caused globally. While other countries around the world have experienced often overwhelming consequences as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, much of Africa appears to have been spared. Even so, the statistics do not suggest the citizens of the countries of Africa have not felt its impact. The fact is, many countries in Africa are seeing regular increases in the numbers of those infected by the novel coronavirus, while much of the world is experiencing a decline in infections.
Around the world, experts warn outbreaks of COVID-19 in Africa may continue, resulting in a higher rate of deaths due to the limited local health services available. With coronavirus worries come fears of potential famine due to the virus threat, in combination with existing drought conditions and ongoing conflicts.
With this in mind, should you intend to travel to the continent now, or post-COVID-19, you should be prepared. Some good preparedness ideas include researching virus statistics in the country you wish to visit that, for one, you can review at AfricaNews.com. It is also advisable to learn if said country has any travel restrictions, which is information that is accessible online via at CDC.gov. Of course, maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity before and during your visit is also key.
MK: Should travelers be ready to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, either before departing or upon arrival?
JC: African countries are now opening for foreign travelers, but this does not indicate the belief that they have won the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Most African countries are still battling with COVID-19 outbreaks, as the number of infected cases continues to rise daily in nearly every African country. To this end, stringent efforts are in place to ensure individuals arriving on the continent and entering various countries are free of the virus.
With this in mind, you should be prepared to present proof of negative COVID-19 status before entering the country to which you are traveling. This measure is being implemented around the globe and the countries of Africa are no exception.
In the same vein, departing any African country will require the same proof of negative COVID-19 status. Both mandates are in place to protect your fellow travelers on the flight as well as the residents of the country to which you are traveling. As things ebb and flow, you can check the status of this mandate online at AfricaTravelInc.com.
MK: What would you suggest about localized regulations?
JC: Travelers must research the localized regulations and requirements with respect to hotel and resorts, airports, ground transportation, public spaces and such for both their own country and their destination.. It is necessary that you understand departure rules from your country of origin, and even more important that you understand your destination country’s prevailing laws for foreign travelers regarding COVID-19. Some African countries like Tanzania and Zambia, for example, have mandated the use of face masks in public places with punishment for the contravention of such laws. Some hotels and resorts also have taken stringent measures and issued their own strict requirements for travelers arriving from foreign countries. For example, at this time, hotel bars in Rwanda are closed but the hotels themselves remain open.
Researching and understanding these laws before traveling enables you to stay safe during your visit and steer clear of legal issues with the local authorities. A helpful resource for staying up-to-date on laws that might affect travel to Africa can be found at Travel.State.gov.
MK: What about the airlines, specifically?
JC: Investigate the requirements for your airline as each carrier has varied responses to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, most airlines have adopted measures to keep their passengers and their staff safe. While some airlines like Delta require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding your flight, others provide testing before your flight and attach the result to your ticket. Therefore, to ensure you are able to fly when scheduled, it is your responsibility to know the requirements of your airline before the flight to avoid any issues. A good resource for this is Go2Africa.com.
MK: Should tourists be prepared for temperature screenings and COVID-19 tests upon arrival and departure?
JC: As pointed out earlier, many African countries are still battling the pandemic, so to keep the residents of their countries safe post-COVID-19, airports have been mandated to request test results or test passengers on-site. Therefore, when traveling, you should be prepared for a coronavirus test upon arrival or departure from any African country. If you refuse to allow this, you will not be able to fly.
MK: What about a potential 14-day quarantine upon arrival—is that only for travelers who show signs of COVID-19?
JC: Apart from testing, be prepared for a 14-day quarantine if you show signs of the virus or test positive during a test given at the airport. African countries are determined to ensure the pandemic is eliminated completely from their countries. If you show symptoms of the virus upon your arrival in any country in Africa, you will likely be quarantined for 14 days. This can even entail having to stay in the country instead of returning to the U.S.
MK: Would you say that travel insurance is an imperative?
JC: Make sure your travel insurance company offers COVID-19 coverage and arrange for COVID-19 travel insurance requirements from airlines. You will want to be insured by your travel insurance company for COVID-19 coverage before traveling to any African country. Check with your travel insurance company to ensure COVID-19 is covered under their insurance policy, in the event you need to change your travel plans due to the pandemic. Such coverage policy can protect you by covering expenses related to unexpected changes and/or medical care in the event of illness.
MK: With any trip, but especially now, there can be unforeseen circumstances. Any insights on that front?
JC: DO NOT travel without extra funds and the ability to extend your trip in the event of a quarantine. With the points mentioned above, there is a great likelihood you will be required to spend more time and money in the country to which you are traveling if your COVID-19 test is positive. As a result, it is advisable to travel only if you are prepared with time and financial contingency plans. However, African countries are not barring U.S. travelers at the same rate as other countries, meaning you can potentially realize your dream safari vacation or other adventure across the continent’s beaches, jungles and deserts.
As the world contends with COVID-19 issues, African countries will endeavor to stay open for tourism, business and much more. Preparing for, and abiding by, the region’s travel requirements will make your journey and overall stay in the country more enjoyable and safer for all.
Article | September 10, 2020
Over the past few days, I've looked at a few dozen travel industry predictor graphs, from a number of very credible sources. Below, I've compiled them all onto one graph to create the last predictor you need to understand for the next few weeks. I can say with almost certainty that one, or a combination of these is going to be quite accurate. What’s the point here? The point here is that there is no point. Nobody knows what will happen next week, never mind three years from now.
Article | September 10, 2020
Who’s ready for some good news? Well, we’re probably not going to hear any truly good news, especially in the travel world, for some time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about positive developments in the post-COVID world. From better environmental protections to more flexible booking options, here are some ways travel could improve in the long run.
Article | September 10, 2020
Technology advancements have changed the way we travel. And some of the new developments promise an improved day-to-day operation and interactive experiences for the customers. With the help of technologies, thousands of companies have transformed their conventional accommodation and traveling experiences.
Travelers have gained free access to chart their journey, arrange required services, and enjoy hassle-free traveling. And the best part of this is, the ability to acquire all without leaving the comfort of home.
However, there has been a paradigm shift in the travel industry with the development of some emerging techs around the world. So let’s check out what these technologies are, how they are going to impact, and the way it is going to change the entire traveling experience.
Key Tech Trends In Traveling
1. AI Chatbots
Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence is the most sensible investment. It helps users to talk with chatbots through messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack. With the data stored in these chatbots, they recommend the best locations, tips, and price-alerts, thus, impact the decisions of the customers. During the trip, it would prompt the traveler about check-in updates and flight delays. Some of the booking sites that use chatbots include Skyscanner, Kayak, Booking.com, etc.
2. AR & VR
Thanks to the development of augmented reality and virtual reality, potential customers can now take a virtual tour of the resort or hotel from anywhere around the world. It assists not only the customer to choose the best option for them but also helps the hotels to promote their facilities. With AR and VR, the possibilities in the travel industry are infinite.
3. Recognition Technology
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, one of the biggest fears a customer faces is coming in contact with an infected person. But, the recognition technology assists in both check-in and check-out from the hotel with the help of retina scanning, facial recognition, and other biometric identifications.
4. Smart Rooms with IoT
A wide number of hotels have moved towards the Internet of Things for their rooms. It enhances the entire customer experience via customized and potential control to the rooms while detecting any problem that can be faced by them.
5. Contactless Payment
Last but not the least, contactless payment is another form of advancement in travel tech that allows companies to process payments quickly and saves time for the customers who don’t have cash or access to their debit or credit card.
For every company that is operating in the travel industry, it is important to keep up with the technological trends. Understanding and using the tech mentioned will help in providing a better experience for the customer and optimize business along with the overall performance of the business. If you want to know more about these technologies and their adoption then have an IT consultant from experienced experts and acquire the in-depth information.