Leadership for transformation conference

African Broadband Revolution 2005- 6 to 8 April 2005, Johannesburg SA

Tourism and development in Africa

Published: 29-NOV-04

Increasingly, tourism is being recognised as an important economic sector in Africa: it attracts often scarce foreign currency, it leads to foreign direct investment, and it can contribute to the development and upliftment of some of the most impoverished sectors of society.

At the same time, it can be used to create a sense of value for African culture and heritage, and to protect the environment.

This link between tourism and development is described in a timely new book from the Africa Institute of South Africa. The editors, Christian Rogerson and Gustav Visser, are experts in human geography and tourism issues, and they have assembled a,collection of essays that contribute to the most important debates in tourism research today: ranging from the local economic impact of pro-poor tourism to tourism infrastructure development, and from indigenous culture to the use of the Internet.

As they state in their introduction, historically, tourism in Africa was first developed �by colonialists for colonialists�. Within post-colonial Africa, tourism is now being touted as a vehicle for development.

The Nepad Tourism Action Plan states: �Tourism is recognised as one of the sectors with the most potential to contribute to the economic regeneration of the continent, particularly through the diversifi cation of African economies, and generation of foreign exchange earnings.�

Within Africa, South Africa �represents something of a special case�, the editors argue. During the apartheid period, the tourism sector was in fact anti-developmental. But with the democratic transition, tourism has begun to be viewed as an essential sector of national reconstruction and development.

The book thus analyses the tourism sector in South Africa in some detail, in part to assess whether development has in fact occurred over the past ten years. The editors call for appropriate national and local planning in ensuring that the profits of tourism do indeed flow to the marginalised and the vulnerable.

The book covers a wide range of issues, and should thus be of interest to all who have an interest or stake in the South African tourism industry.

Its indepth research is accessible, and is enhanced by the inclusion of several maps. It will also be of relevance to the tourism industries in other African countries and the rest of the developing world � Tourism and Development Issues in Contemporary South Africa is edited by Christian M. Rogerson and Gustav Visser, and published by the Africa Institute of South Africa.

The book is available directly from the Africa Institute of South Africa, at ZAR140 per copy.

website http://www.ai.org.za

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