From one traveler to another,
let me share with you some trends
we can expect for travel in the new year.
Here’s why travel shaming won’t stop travelers in 2021
As the dust settles on a year I for one would personally rather write off as never happening (okay fine it wasn’t that bad), most of us look forward to a glimmer of hope that 2021 will be better. By better, I mean more normal. And by glimmer, I mean more like a beacon. Because let’s be real, this year has been a tough one.
That beacon of light appears to have finally arrived, with a covid-19 vaccine beginning to be distributed throughout the United State today. And while Dr. Anthony Fauci suggests we will have to wait until April for nation-wide distribution, after waiting almost the entirety of this year for a vaccine, a few more months waiting doesn’t seem so bad.
So, should you start planning a trip for the new year?
You may not have heard about travel shaming yet. It is a concept that came as quickly as Covid itself, as countries began locking down and staying home became the new normal. And while the United States has been one of the worst hit by the global pandemic, many countries have managed to contain the virus and have since re-opened to international tourism. So the question then becomes: is it safe to travel?
It is perhaps more safe than you think! With new restrictions and strict protocols, international travel is evolving, not ending.
Surprisingly, many of Africa’s leading safari lodges are booked out for the high season in 2021. This is, of course, less surprising when you consider how many of those bookings were due to take place this year and decided to rebook for a year later when the world had returned to some kind of normal.
With a vaccine starting to become available, it certainly feels like a return to normal is just around the corner. But if ever there was a golden time to travel, it would be now.
Travel shaming didn’t stop us from traveling to East Africa back in October to share with you all of the new Covid-19 safety precautions and protocols. In fact, it was one of the most opportune trips we have taken. Not only is it safe to travel (with a negative covid-19 test and health precautions both en route and on arrival), but there has also never been a better time to visit the National Parks in Africa.
Why? We’re so glad you asked!
The Safari Industry is integral to the communities of African nations
First and foremost, Africa needs you now more than ever. Safari lodges and operators account for a high percentage of the GDP in countries like Kenya and South Africa, as well as many other African nations. Since March 2020, lodges have seen a 75% drop in bookings because of covid, which has led to an unprecedented amount of pause in the industry and jobs for locals.
But not only is it the monetary contributions that are important, it is also important to note how the safari industry has helped to increase education in the communities that surround the likes of the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti.
When you head off into the bush for an adventure, you will be assigned an expert ranger and often a tracker as well. These local guides are trained and educated at guide school not only in hospitality and the English language but all things flora and fauna for the land of which surrounds them.
Many lodges also feature a safari shop showcasing local handicrafts and gifts that benefit women in the communities, as well as the families they support. Without guests, this has been a trying time for local communities who rely on the safari industry.
The Safari Industry protects against animal poaching
Africa is famed for its incredible landscapes and vast empty plains, but the real drawcard for safari-goers is the wildlife. The safari industry is the biggest protector against animal poaching. It is no secret that conservation efforts have skyrocketed alongside the success of luxury lodges. So while you might think you are just going on an epic adventure to Africa, you are also directly contributing to conservation efforts on the ground just by being there.
Why travel shaming is only one side of the story
The truth is, travel shaming should not stop you from going on a meaningful journey. And if you ask us, a safari is one of the most meaningful trips you can take in your lifetime. Suddenly those animals you grew up watching on television are right in front of you. And suddenly all your office worries fall by the wayside as you truly start to understand the circle of life.
As we approach 2021 I urge you to think about why you should take a trip, not why you shouldn’t. Travel is an integral part of our lives and this year has forced us to seriously consider why we travel. It is not just a form of escapism, but a new way of seeing things. We start to really appreciate our place in the world and our privilege. Even more importantly, how we can have a positive impact on our planet.
If you’re eager for more inspiration, we recommend viewing David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet on netflix.
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