The Credit Crunch and the Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park Sunset

The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 which lead to a downturn in economic activity that ultimately resulted in the 2008–2012 global recession is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. I’m sure you didn’t come to this blog looking for a lesson in economics, but bear with me for a moment.

All of us were affected by the recession in some way or another. Times were tough – at least in some respects, for everybody. All of us had to make changes, and be more frugal in our spending. Luxuries were forgotten. We focused on necessities, and did everything we could just to get by.

Globally, there was an 8% decline in tourism. That was just in general – luxury holidays decreased by as much as 14%. This is absolutely massive, and I’m sure all of us know of hotels and guesthouses that had to close their doors permanently as a result.

So here’s what I’m getting at. At this time, when most families put holidays on the backburner, which lead to an 8% decrease in tourism internationally, how is it, then, that the Kruger National Park sustained a 1.6% increase in accommodation unit occupancy? In other words, there were 1.6% MORE people staying in the Kruger Park during the recession than before – a growth in occupancy that was consistent with years prior to the recession.

I stumbled upon this interesting study while looking for something else online. If you’d like to look at the entire article, you can access is here: (http://www.actacommercii.co.za/index.php/acta/article/view/168/168).

I’ll summarise what they found, though. As soon as I read the title of the article, “Understanding the reasons why tourists visit the Kruger National Park during a recession”, I knew the answer. Sure, we could look at it from an economic perspective. But if you’ve ever been to the Kruger Park, then I’m sure you already know the answer too.

Quite simply, the Kruger National Park is not a luxury. For those of us who know it and love it, it is absolutely a necessity. You agree, don’t you? The authors of the above article agree with me. They did a study which proved it. But I think it goes without saying – once you’ve allowed the Kruger Park to enter your heart, there’s no letting go of it. I love it, and I’m willing to make sacrifices in other areas of my life if need be, just to make sure I’m able to spend time in the place that I love so much.

This is basically what the authors of the Independent Research Journal in the Management Sciences found, and all credit for this information goes to them. I’m merely making a quick summary – cutting a long story short, if you will.

People’s primary reasons for travelling to the Kruger were to escape from the everyday environment, to experience wildlife and nature as well as for family benefits. The results of this research also indicate that aside from economic constraints, visitors regard travelling to the Kruger National Park as a primary need instead of a luxury, and it forms a vital and necessary part of their travel lifestyle.

We can all relate to this, can’t we? I mean, a trip to the Kruger is not negotiable for me. Honestly, for the standard of accommodation provided by the Kruger Park, you can’t do better anywhere else, really.

That, of course, is one of the Primary Focuses of the National Parks Act. Our National Parks must be accessible to all of us. In fact, did you know that the vision of South African National Parks (SANParks) is that National Parks will be the pride & joy of all South Africans and the world?

So if you think about it, the Kruger National Park really is quite affordable. There’s accommodation ranging from camping for those of us who like to “rough it”, all the way through to extremely luxurious private camps and just about everything in between. There’s something for everyone.

Sure, some supplies can be a bit pricey in the shops, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing your regular grocery shopping outside of the park, packing it into your car and bringing it in with you.

I’m convinced! Is there a holiday option better than the Kruger Park? Certainly not, in my opinion. It’s extremely reasonably priced, there is a greater variety of accommodation than anywhere else, and it’s in close proximity to Gauteng and Kwazulu-Natal and borders on Mpumalanga and the Limpopo province. If you travel straight up the N4 highway to Malelane Gate or Crocodile Bridge, you won’t pass a single pothole. SANParks has got a fantastic online booking system with many different payment options, and you’ll be staying in the most glorious, most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. What’s stopping you? Visit www.sanparks.org and make your booking today.

“Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sites – this is real Africa. The Kruger National Park.”

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