With predictions that the rising trend of solo travel will grow post-COVID-19, there are increasing opportunities for African markets to attract these travellers.
“It is definitely a rising trend and I see it increasing considerably to the continent. Just yesterday I got a query for a person travelling for her 50th birthday on her own,” said owner of Nanan Travel, German de la Melena – a travel agency that focuses on travel to Southern Africa and Peru.
Founder and MD of Timeless Africa, Julian Asher, shared his passion for solo travel with Tourism Update. As an avid photographer, Asher has been on several one-man trips before and said safaris in Africa were a great option for solo travellers.
“On safari you’re usually given the chance to socialise around camp fires, and it’s a great way to get to know new people,” said Asher, noting that his solo travel clients tended to be young people, mostly in their twenties with no children.
Meanwhile, the aha Hotels & Lodges group tends to attract travellers in an older age bracket (35+) who were either newly single or retired and were looking forward to a solo adventure, according to Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of the group, James Robb.
Regardless of the demographic they fell into, once international tourism resumed, every country in the world would be fighting for the attention of the solo traveller, said Asher. This raises the question, what can African destinations do to attract these travellers?
As a tour operator himself, Asher provided insight into single travellers coming to southern or eastern Africa for the purpose of safari, saying that those travelling on their own were more wary of remote African destinations with little to no information on health and safety in the area.
This, along with most lodges in the region charging single supplement fees, can be discouraging to the solitary tourist.
According to Asher, managing the healthcare information about a destination will be very important for tourism recovery post-COVID-19 – particularly in attracting single travellers.