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Tourism as a local development strategy in South Africa

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The promotion of tourism has been identified as a key strategy that can lead to economic upliftment, community development and poverty relief in the developing world. In the last few years, tourism has also emerged as a significant development option in post–apartheid South Africa. In the context of some current debates on tourism in poor countries, the paper examines how economic, social and environmental resources are being utilized to promote tourism as a local economic development strategy in South Africa, and more specifically it focuses on current local government endeavours in this regard and two communities that have suffered the loss of their economic resource base. Tourism–based development initiatives, one in KwaZulu–Natal and one in the Western Cape, are evaluated in the context of generating economic growth, alleviating poverty and addressing the apartheid legacy of discrimination and inequality. The significance of the dynamics of development processes involved in these initiatives has much wider relevance for local economic development, both within South Africa and elsewhere.

Keywords: South Africa; economic restructuring; environment; local economic development; tourism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Sussex, Brighton 2: Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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