Certainly, the travel industry has changed. Thousands of trips have been cancelled, hotels have lost bookings, airlines have refunded billions of dollars, and companies in every part of the industry have laid off employees and cut back on expenditures.
Travel companies including safaris have suspended or cancelled trips and this has a ripple effect on local communities, ecology, and conservation efforts. The economies of many of these communities are dependent on tourists, and since many travel lodges and outfitters also maintain conservation programs, there will be a significant effect on the environment as well.
Companies are adapting in any way they can, and some have come up with very creative responses to the situation.
One good example is andBeyond, a travel company with numerous lodges and camps in Africa. The company suspended all operations for the month of April and is allowing guests to cancel or postpone trips scheduled anytime up to July 31, 2020. It has kept a core team of employees at each lodge to perform training, maintenance, and conservation work.
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WILDwatch Live || We're bringing the Wilderness of Africa to you! andBeyond is excited to announce that from the 01 April 2020 we, in collaboration with #WildEarth, will be streaming LIVE interactive game drives from @andbeyondngala and Djuma Private Game Reserve, South Africa! ?: Link in Bio. See what lies beyond… ——— Tune in for twice daily live and interactive safaris: ◾ Morning game drives start at 06h00 CAT. ◾ Afternoon game drives start at 15h30 CAT. ———- You can find andBeyond's WILDwatch Live broadcasts on the below Social Media sites: ◾: Facebook – andBeyond Travel ◾: YouTube – andBeyond Travel ◾: Twitter – andbeyondtravel ——– Find our andBeyond guides in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Phinda Private Game Reserve with andBeyond’s Instagram Live feeds at @andBeyondTravel. Here our guides will bring the latest animal sightings to you as they find them. ———- COVID 19 Disclaimer: Strict adherence is being maintained to government regulations and recommendations during the RSA COVID-19 lockdown period. Access controls to andBeyond Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserves and social distancing protocols amongst staff thereon, are being dutifully exercised to ensure the safety of all involved and to demonstrate collective commitment towards “flattening the curve". ——— #seewhatliesbeyond #andbeyondtravel #WILDwatch #wildearth #djuma #WildwatchLive #andbeyondngala #krugernationalpark #andbeyondkirkmanskamp #andbeyondphinda #whitelions #southafrica #luxurytravel #luxurysafari #safari #travelinspiration #andbeyondexperiences #wishyouwerehere #andBeyondAtHome ——— @wildearthofficial
In addition, andBeyond is prioritizing efforts to serve its local communities by providing water and supplies to rural clinics, care centers, and homes. Also, since many of andBeyond’s lodges are located in or near national parks which are currently closed to the public, the company has increased its staff presence in the parks to guard against poaching.
For many people like myself who hold Africa dear to my heart, it is good to know that andBeyond is continuing to do outstanding and admirable work for the people and animals of its communities. They have launched “Bringing Africa Home” pivoting their business to virtual travel and posting daily lives of safari adventures on Instagram as well as posting stunning pictures, delicious African recipes and as well as recommended videos and movie suggestions of wildlife, so that people have a travel escape from our living rooms.
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Taste Africa || The secret is out! Check out our Insta Story to download andBeyond's Ngala Crunchie Recipe. A safari staple on morning coffee stops – utterly delicious. See what lies beyond… ——– join our andBeyond guides on our WILDwatch Live game drives. ?: Link in Bio. ——– We are missing you too. Don't be shy and share your #andBeyondAtHome moments with us! You can also email us at email@example.com. ——— #seewhatliesbeyond #andbeyondtravel #foodieFriday #andBeyondAtHome #luxurytravel #luxurysafari #safari #travelinspiration #andbeyondexperiences #wishyouwerehere #africa #travel #foodfundi #ngala #wildearth #wildwatchLive
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Something a little different | Step into our ranger's room and enjoy an Insta Live video with andBeyond guide, Damen Pheiffer, as he takes you through some rather interesting items from the reserve. See what lies beyond… ——– Bringing Africa Home | Join our guides at Phinda Private Game Reserve with WILDwatch Live. Be sure to sign-up for notifications, on our Instagram Live. in 3 easy steps: ◾ Follow @andBeyondTravel on Instagram ◾ Select the “Following” button and go to Notifications ◾ Select Live Videos and make sure “Get all Notifications” is selected ———- ?: With guides @damenpheiffer and @brendon_white_ ?: @andbeyondphinda ?: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa ———- #seewhatliesbeyond #andbeyondtravel #andBeyondAtHome #WILDwatchLive #Wildwatch #phinda #andbeyondphinda #southafrica #luxurytravel #luxurysafari #safari #travelinspiration #andbeyondexperiences #wishyouwerehere #traveldeeper #stillatraveler #travelathome #lockdown #isolation
A stronger online presence for individuals and companies is going to be one of the biggest developments to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we all spend more of our lives in the virtual world. Travel companies are rolling out more virtual tours of popular destinations, to give people a glimpse of those places they can’t get to at present.
Here are a few links to virtual tours, travel guides, and online videos.
Discover Ireland. All about Ireland.
Japan VR. A 360-degree virtual tour of Japan.
Google Earth National Park Tours. A visit to national parks of the US.
A Tour of the Sistine Chapel. Experience the beauty of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
Chile 360. Here you can download an app that gives 360-degree tours of the country of Chile.
AirPano Mount Everest. Here you’ll find 360-degree views of Mount Everest.
Lights Over Lapland. Stunning views of the Aurora Borealis in Norway.
Virtual Yosemite. Virtual tour of Yosemite National Park.
AirPano Zhangjiajie National Forest. Views of a national forest in China.
AirPano Namib Desert. From the top of the dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia.
Cincinnati Zoo Videos. Lots of videos from the Cincinnati Zoo.
Tennessee Aquarium Live Cams. See what the animals and fish are up to.
Travel Guide to Seattle. All about Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
Broadway HD. Stream your favorite Broadway shows.
The British Museum. An online tour of one of the world’s premier museums.
Forbes Magazine’s Ten Movies To Watch For A Virtual Trip Around The World. If you like your virtual tours to have a plot and some characters to watch, check out this list of movies that were shot at interesting locations. Africa buffs will appreciate the inclusion of “Out Of Africa” the classic Hollywood film shot in Kenya. There are plenty of other great movies on this list that were shot in visually stunning locations.
The Coronavirus has been hard on everyone, but for those of us who like to travel, it has been a challenge to be so restricted in our movements. We can still read books about our favorite places and take virtual tours of them and dream about the time when we can visit them in person again.
And when that time will soon come again, one of the most important thing is to remember the good work of conservation and local community support that many of these companies are doing during this time of crisis as well as their philanthropic initiatives to help the global community as a whole.