In Germany, two tour operators specialists in travel to Africa have filed a legal action at the Berlin Administrative Court for a temporary injunction to have the German Foreign Office’s worldwide travel warning for Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Namibia lifted. They were unfounded. The travel warning for Tanzania wrongly suggests that there is an acute risk to life and limb, say the organizers
The tour operators Elangeni African Adventures from Bad Homburg and Akwaba Afrika from Leipzig filed their claim on 12 June. According to a press release, they are thus representative of a large number of long-distance tour operators. Akwaba Afrika and Elangeni African Adventures are part of a community of interests of various Africa tour operators from all over Germany, which was created with the outbreak of the Corona pandemic.
No security-relevant reason
Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Namibia are either already open to tourists or have announced plans to open soon. According to the initiators, the incidence of infection in these countries is significantly lower than in many European countries, while at the same time strict hygiene and containment measures are in place. Therefore, there is “no objective safety-relevant justification for a travel warning”.
“Tourism is nature conservation”, says Heike van Staden, the owner of Elangeni African Adventures. Without income from tourism, many African countries would not be able to pay their rangers to preserve Africa’s incomparable natural diversity. Since the corona eruption and the resulting absence of tourists, poaching has increased massively in many African countries.
Travel warning destroys livelihoods
David Heidler, Managing Director of Akwaba Africa, emphasizes the economic impact of the travel warning: “Maintaining the worldwide travel warning destroys livelihoods in Germany and the destinations. Entrepreneurs in Africa would be ruined by the loss of an entire travel season. In countries without government aid or adequate social systems, the crisis is hitting the employees of hotels and other tourism service providers hardest.
Although Tanzania has reopened to tourists and implemented numerous measures to prevent infection, the global travel warning suggests to consumers that there is an “acute risk to life and limb”. A large number of bookings are canceled without replacement and the travel warning means that the order books cannot be filled with the otherwise numerous German tourists. “Serengeti must not die, demanded once animal filmmaker Bernhard Grzimek already 61 years ago – today it is up to the German government itself”, says Heidler.
A spokesperson of the African Tourism Board urges to follow guidelines put in place by destinations, the World Health Organization, and suggestions put in place by the WTTC Safe Travels Initiative. African Tourism Board has its own initiative called Project Hope to assist with the COVID-19 situation.