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Driving the Demand: African Travelers’ Sentiment for the Post-pandemic Era

A few months ago, when the pandemic was gaining speed and country after country started imposing strict quarantine and lockdown measures, many of us prophesized a slow recovery trend amid the negative sentiment from the demand side of the market. Almost half a year later, we now have an opportunity to see whether those predictions panned out.

According to a recent Africa Traveler and Hotel Guest Sentiment Survey done by HVS, such fears may have been overstated. More than half of the respondents expect the borders to reopen to regional travelers on the continent in the next three months, while 42% count on the same timeframe for the international travelers. Such forecast is certainly appealing, as Africa has reportedly already lost USD55 billion (over 2% of the whole continent’s GDP) in travel and tourism revenues, and can hardly sustain an even further hit.

When it comes to their own plans, almost half of the respondents expect to visit African countries within three months once the travel ban is lifted. It is also worthwhile to mention that only a fifth is planning on traveling for leisure, while 64% expect to restart their business trips. This may be an important finding for properties trying to adjust to the new demand drivers and looking to diversify their target market – such adaptation techniques may be well worth a try.

Focusing specifically on hotels, 75% of the respondents are likely to stay in one within three months after the travel bans are lifted, with almost a third ready to check in as soon as it is physically possible! Such results speak to the high level of trust between the potential guests and their hosting properties, which is perhaps well-earned, given the sheer scope of procedures and operations hotel chains have undertaken in order to ensure their clients’ safety and security.

Overall, the survey supports the conclusion of government policies and healthcare issues being the major reasons for a somewhat slower-than-expected recovery trend in hospitality. Both the supply and demand sides of the market seem to be ready for a reopening, and guests will probably not hold back once the borders are open again, especially when it comes to previously well-established destinations and renowned brands.

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