Key Drivers and Enablers of Township Tourism: The Case of Atteridgeville, South Africa

Type Journal Article - Journal of Tourism & Hospitality
Title Key Drivers and Enablers of Township Tourism: The Case of Atteridgeville, South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Since 1994, tourism has risen in South Africa due to democratic transition [1] which has placed South Africa as the main destination for tourists in the continent of Africa [2]; with travellers from Germany being the third highest contributors to the economy of South Africa after United Kingdom (UK) and United States of America (USA). This has resulted to tourism growth in South Africa. The government’s involvement in the development and management of the tourism industry is crucial. For example, one of the government’s initiatives in South Africa is the National Development Plan vision 2030. It is the long-term economic plan for the country desired to identify the role of different sectors of society and to define the destination of reaching the set goals. According to the NDP, the key policy issues around the tourism sector include;
• Emphasis on increasing the total number of tourists entering the country, and the average amount of money spent by each tourist;
• Ease of doing business, as well as availability of appropriate levels of tourism infrastructure (particularly transport, tourism offerings/products and accommodation),
• Positioning South Africa as the business and shopping centre for the region;
• Considering a Schengen-type visa for the region
• The plan sees the tourism sector as a comparative advantage for South Africa [3]. This is an indication of a committed democratic government. According to Stronza [4], it is the government’s duty to ensure that there is an interaction of tourism partnership between a local community and a private company to generate economic returns through employment of the local people. This will in-turn ensures that there is income distribution to the community fund; strengthen community organization, capacity and expanding supporting networks. Moreover, Mitchell and Ashley [5] assert that government must address the challenge of making tourism a more socially inclusive vehicle or driver for poverty alleviation and engage different pathways.
There are numerous policies, programs and projects that highlight the ostensible ‘new role of tourism and development’ for the agenda regarding poverty [6]. The South African Tourism Strategy Paper suggests that, tourism need to expand in new areas and promote direct participation of historically disadvantaged groups [7,8]. The World Bank (2012, 11) emphasise the impact of the tourism industry by stating that, ‘tourism is a three-billion-a day business’. In addition, Statistics South Africa [9], indicate that the employment on craft and related trade as part of the informal sector jobs increased by 43 000. The job opportunities created by the tourism industry through crafts (55 000), sales and services (22 000) increased. These include potential job opportunities in township areas. Furthermore, Mitchell and Ashley (2010), state that deepening and sustaining the success of established tourism destinations require attention to an array of key policy issues surrounding local sourcing, maximization of local linkages that add value and create local employment opportunities [6,10]. This indicates the importance of countries having their own tourism policies to encourage training to ensure excellence in service delivery. Through the growing tourism sector ‘townships have become more accessible and opportunities have opened for black South Africans’ [11].

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