Could Africa and the Middle East look increasingly attractive to hurricane-weary Canadians looking for a relaxed vacation locale?
Just possibly say some of those on hand for a Tuesday Goway Travel event in Toronto showcasing those two regions.
Africa and the Middle East – both of which have often had to contend with their own image issues over the years – may be able to attract Canadians who have recently been hearing daily reports of the Caribbean – traditionally popular with vacationers from this country – being pummelled by hurricanes.
“I hate to say it, but they might,” Uniglobe agent Ethel Hansen Davey said of Africa and the Middle East possibly luring more Canadians. She believes South Africa is in a particularly good position to attract more Canadians because it’s fairly high profile and seen as safer than many other African countries.
Kristy Perring, Goway’s acting general manager, Africa and the Middle East, said Africa can also benefit as terrorism continues to plague parts of Europe, making some people uneasy about travelling there.
“Africa was long deemed as dangerous destination, but is now seen as a safer destination,” said Perring, who added that her company isn’t trying to capitalize on Caribbean misfortunes.
Zimbabwe is among African countries Perring has visited. That country continues to wrestle with image problems, but Perring labelled it “one of the friendliest countries I have been to.”
She said Goway’s Africa business is growing quickly, with South Africa leading the way.
The Middle East is also attracting more interest, but at a slower rate. Perring added Egypt – which has seen its tourism trade suffer in recent years because of security concerns – “is definitely coming back.”
Avril Matthews of Visit Jordan said that country has “noisy neighbours” but her own visit there this year convinced her that it’s a very safe country where Western women will feel very comfortable.
David Chorley, who oversees South African Airways’ Canadian operation, also expects South Africa will benefit over unease Canadians may have about travelling to some other parts of the world at this time.
“As a result of some of the things happening in the world, South Africa will continue to see an uptick in travel.”
Meanwhile, Toronto travel agent Roger Boyajian said he believes Africa and the Middle East may well look more attractive to travellers who are concerned about hurricane damage. “That’s why I came [to the event],” he said.
Pictured are Goway’s Sam Cottar, Perring, Matthews and Chorley.