Last updated 23 March 2020
News of coronavirus has been dominating headlines, causing concern among travelers and creating chaos for agents and operators. We want to keep you abreast of the latest information from our partners and their destinations.
For the latest travel industry updates from Africa, we highly recommend you bookmark and refer to the Coronavirus Africa Information page from the African Travel & Tourism Association (Atta).
Another good travel industry related resource is the COVID-19 Guide for the Adventure Travel Industry from the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
Note: We will update this blog as often as possible with new information as conditions warrant but given the fast-moving nature of this crisis, some of the information and links below may be out-of-date.
New Frontiers Tours – Southern Africa
- Update March 18, 2020: Another email update from Craig with the latest from southern Africa. We also want to highlight a specific paragraph from his email: “Where clients are choosing to cancel, we are asking suppliers to be as lenient as possible. However, many of them are simply not in a financial position to offer full refunds in the event of a cancellation and again, please be mindful that they bear a responsibility for a large labour force that they have a financial and moral obligation to support. There is a very good article in CN Traveller that is worth sharing regarding this and also worth sharing with clients:
- Update March 16, 2020: South Africa has put a travel ban in place for key source countries including the USA, UK, Germany and Spain, effective Wednesday 18 March 2020. More details in this email update from New Frontiers’ CEO Craig Smith.
- New Frontiers have released a base policy for postponements and cancellations along with information on Southern African destinations. These flexible policies should also help you to confirm provisional bookings. Many southern Africa properties are relaxing their cancellation policies or at least offering flexibility with deposit payments and/or re-booking for future dates at no penalty.
- Review this bulletin from SATSA for high-level information on the coronavirus in South Africa.
Ultimate Safaris – Namibia
- Update March 14, 2020: The Namibian government has announced it is suspending all inbound and outbound travel from Ethiopia, Qatar and Germany for the next 30 days with immediate effect. View the official statement from the Namibian government here.
- The Ministry of Health and Social Services has released a statement outlining the current situation, the country’s actions to prevent the spread of the virus, information from the African Union meeting on the subject, the SADC’s steps to coordinate their efforts and general public prevention measures.
- Ultimate have temporarily updated their cancellation policy, which you can view here.
Imvelo Safari Lodges – Zimbabwe
- Update March 17, 2020: Zimbabwe’s president declared a national disaster and travellers from high risk countries are encouraged to postpone their travel arrangements to Zimbabwe for the next 30 days, starting from 20th March 2020.
- Zimbabwe has introduced surveillance and precautionary measures at all the country’s ports of entry to curb the spread of coronavirus. Tourism Update released this updated information on 9 March.
- Imvelo’s coronavirus cancellation policy can be found here.
Classic Africa Safaris – Uganda & Rwanda
- Update March 23, 2020: The Rwanda Development Board has announced that tourism and research activities at Volcanoes, Gishwati-Mukura and Nyungwe National Parks will be suspended as of March 21st until further notice as a preventive measure against the transmission of #COVID19. Full RDB statement here. The statement referred to the RDB release posted on March 9th stating that gorilla and chimp permits can be postponed and re-booked for up to two years with no penalty.
- Update March 19, 2020: The Rwanda Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced the suspension of all commercial flights in/out of Kigali from midnight on March 20, 2020 for an initial period of 30 days. All land borders remain open until further notice. Read the CAS email update here.
- Update March 12, 2020: The Uganda Ministry of Health has announced significant travel restrictions. This includes barring passengers from the US. CAS have released this statement with information, including the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s stance on gorilla permits.
- Please contact CAS for further details regarding your confirmed bookings, should your clients have concerns, and they will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. This process will evolve as the situation does.
- The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have released a statement broadly outlining preparedness measures as well as information on some cancellation/postponement rules.
- Both Uganda and Rwanda’s Ministries of Health have released general statements. You can view them here.
Albatros East Africa – Tanzania & Kenya
- Update March 18, 2020: East Africa coronavirus travel update from Albatros Travel.
- The Kenyan government have suspended travel for all anyone entering Kenya from any country with reported coronavirus cases. Only Kenyan citizens, and any foreigners with valid residence permits, are permitted entry – they must then self-quarantine or go to a government designated quarantine facility. View the full government statement here.
- In Tanzania, stronger screening measures are in place at Tanzania’s three international airports (Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar). People showing symptoms of coronavirus will be isolated at the airport and may be quarantined in a government hospital. The government recommends self-isolation for anyone arriving from high risk countries, even if showing no symptoms.
- Albatros East Africa updated coronavirus cancelation policy.
- Both countries are following WHO recommended protocols, screening incoming passengers, educating the public on precautions, isolating suspected cases, increasing the number of health care workers on standby and increasing their capacity to test for the virus.
Travel Ethiopia – Ethiopia
- This report from Al Jazerra outlines Ethiopia’s preparedness and its precautions in preventing spread of the virus.
The Manta Resort – Pemba Island, Tanzania
- Screenings are taking place at ports of entry.
- Manta Resort is closed for the season and for refurbishments until mid-June, 2020.
Maya Trails – Guatemala, Belize & Honduras
- Update March 19, 2020: Please find the latest updates on COVID-19 and any travel restrictions to Belize on the Belize Tourism Board’s website here.
- Update March 14, 2020: The Guatemalan government further extended restrictions to travelers from Canada, Japan and the United States as of midnight March 16. Full statement here.
- Update March 12, 2020: To prevent the entry of COVID-19 into Guatemala, MSPAS have declared that as of Thursday, March 12, MSPAS have announced a quarantine of passengers arriving in Guatemala from Spain, Italy, Germany, China, Iran and South Korea.
- The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MSPAS) has in-depth information on their website regarding coronavirus. Their news section has information on the latest government communications and declarations. The website is in Spanish*.
- The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare released this update in English.
- Maya Trails do not have a standardized postponement/cancellation policy across the board, however they are working closely with their partners on flexible policies to allow more freedom of choice for your travelers. Please contact them directly if you have a particular booking you would like to discuss.
Tropic Ecuador – Ecuador & the Galapagos
- Update March 15, 2020: The government of Ecuador announced the prohibition of international flights arriving at the country’s airports, as well as entry of foreign citizens by land and sea effective 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, 15 March. You can find a summary of the press conference where the announcement was made here (in Spanish) and a statement from the tourism authority here.
- Tropic are prioritizing the needs of on the ground passengers and travelers set to depart in the next 21 days (through April 5th) at this time. Please allow them time to deal with these guests before inquiring about trips to commence at a later date.
- The epidemiological surveillance protocol in Ecuador includes active surveillance, early detection, isolation, case management, contact tracing and prevention of infection. As an additional measure, a plan to disinfect areas frequented by passengers in the terminal has been implemented, while alcohol dispensers have been provided at all arrival/departure migration counters.
- A statement from Tropic can he found here which includes extensive detail on the situation, government protocol and cancellation policies. Of special note – Tropic is very pleased to report that their ‘Assist Card‘ services – a complimentary value-add for clients who have booked their entire itineraries with Tropic – are still on offer to Tropic passengers. Every Tropic passenger will receive a special bag tag with their Assist Card coverage information.
- The US Centers for Disease Control has specific recommendations about cruise ship travel. Those recommendations can be found here.
Todos Santos Eco Adventures – Baja California Sur, Mexico
- The U.S. government has committed to support Baja California Sur with medical personnel and the latest technology to establish early detection sites for possible infections with COVID-19.
- Todos Santos Eco Adventures are allowing guests to apply deposits to future bookings should they wish to change their travel dates. Note that should the rebooking take place in a different season with a higher rate, guests will be responsible for the difference.
Costa Rica Sun Tours – Costa Rica
- Update March 17, 2020: As part of the State of Emergency declared by the Costa Rican government, as of midnight on Wednesday, March 18th the country will close its borders to all foreigners. The restriction applies to the country’s ports of entry via land, air or sea. The travel restrictions will continue through at least Sunday, April 12 at 11:59 p.m. Full statement from CRST.
- Update March 13, 2020: Costa Rica Sun Tours (CR Sun Tours) have released this statement about their agreements with properties on peace of mind booking, postponement and cancellation policies.
- The Costa Rican government (Ministry of Health) initiated a preventative protocol to detect, contain, and stop the spread of any possible cases of coronavirus in the country in mid-January 2020. This action followed the alerts by the World Health Organization.
- Authorities are monitoring Costa Rica’s ports of entry and have coordinated responses with international airlines in the event of a sick traveler.
- Contact Costa Rica Sun Tours directly if you have questions about your traveler’s booking.
*Note that many browsers have a reasonable capacity for translating these websites.