There is “massive” demand for travel to Africa from Hong Kong but there needs to be “absolute confidence” in the safety of the destination, with health and safety protocols strictly adhered to.
These are some of the insights shared by Head of Africa at the Hong Kong-based Charlotte Travel agency, Ewan Burger, who said travellers from Hong Kong would not even consider booking packages with suppliers who could not provide explicit explanations on the various measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19 or any other highly infectious disease.
“Hong Kong travellers were hypervigilant around health and safety even before the COVID-19 outbreak and it’s only going to be heightened now,” said Burger.
“The questions we will ask our suppliers, on behalf of our clients, would include details on whether they offered complimentary masks, if temperature readings would be taken regularly, and if there was hand sanitiser available in every room and public space.”
According to Burger, his clients even expect to be given cloths and sanitisers in their rooms so they can clean surfaces themselves.
Some of the hygiene measures taken by Asian accommodation suppliers include seals on hotel doors to show that the room had been sterilised and not taking bookings for the same room over a 24-hour period. This ensures the accommodation provider has enough time to properly prepare the room for the next guest.
Safaris offer ‘natural social distancing’
Burger told Tourism Update that the safari offerings in Southern and East Africa would become increasingly popular due to many low-impact luxury offerings that provided natural social distancing and privacy opportunities.
“For the high-spend, luxury Hong Kong traveller that enjoys privacy, I predict that many future travellers will opt for complete buyouts on game reserves and lodges to ensure their social distancing and privacy needs are met,” said Burger.
He said this particular source market would be willing to pay the costs associated with this. “High standards of service, personal touches and attention to detail have always been important to this market and I only work with suppliers on the ground who adhere to these exacting standards.”
According to Burger, these include receiving added benefits such as room upgrades, private safari vehicles and small personal touches. He told Tourism Update that he would even go as far as requesting specific game rangers with the lodges he works with as he knows they will go the extra mile for his clients.