Tourism and local development in South Africa: Challenging local governments
The importance of tourism as a vehicle for local economic development (LED) in South Africa has been highlighted in several investigations. National government acknowledges the critical role of local governments in supporting tourism development and is introducing a number of support initiatives to capacitate them. Against the background of a review of international scholarship and debates around tourism and LED the purpose of this analysis is to critically interrogate key challenges and issues around tourism and local development in South Africa. This investigation interrogates a local tourism data base which allows measurement of the tourism performance of all local authorities in the country. The results of this study point to the need for widespread capacity building for local governments in tourism planning which must include both those local governments which are the leading destinations for tourism visits and those localities which are tourism-dependent local economies. In addition, the results confirm a need for expanded locality research into the locally different forms of tourism which drive LED.
Keywords: Tourism, local government, local economic development, South Africa.
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