Travel is expensive, time-consuming, stressful, disruptive, sometimes tedious, and occasionally even dangerous.
None of which is enough to keep us at tucked away home with the blinds drawn.
Because travel is also exhilarating, mind-expanding and life-changing, not to mention often essential to doing successful business in the 21st century.
At any one time, there is a great shifting tribe of travellers. The current estimate from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation is 940 million international tourist arrivals (business and leisure) per year, and the number just keeps growing. Wars and natural disasters dampen its exuberance only slightly; it quickly bounces back.
This growth is now fastest for the number of travellers to developing nations, but even so, the first world still gets the most traffic, with its huge associated socio-economic benefits. The top 10 destination nations are: France, USA, China, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico.
African countries, many of which rely on tourism for income, still get least of all: only about 5% of international travellers, and 3.4% of the financial gain. There are various reasons for this, but we do lose some of our potential visitors to health anxieties, both real and perceived: about contracting endemic diseases such as malaria, personal safety, and not being able to get good health care in case of a medical crisis.
Anyone who lives in and loves Africa knows that we hold some of the greatest travel treasures the planet has to offer, and that, with some sound preparation and planning, they can be experienced safely.
We're working to develop our Travel Health Centre to best help you with that planning process, so please let us know your queries and concerns, and which health issues and destinations you'd most like to know more about. All travel is relevant here, but we'd like to focus especially on our unique, extraordinary home continent, that we and everyone else should get to see much more of.
Editor: Enviro and Travel Health