Leaping into urban adventure: Orlando Bungee, Soweto, South Africa
Since 1994, the South African adventure tourism industry, both in its hard and soft manifestations, has grown rapidly, and its geographic footprint is now wide. Despite this, little is known about the industry in South Africa. In particular, data on the demand for, and supply of, this type of tourism product are lacking. This paper seeks to contribute to the understanding of the sector and provides an outline of one of South Africa’s few urban adventure enterprises, namely Orlando Towers Bungee. Traditionally Soweto has been a heritage, ‘struggle’ or ‘justice’ tourism destination, mainly popular with international tourists. Local tourists, especially white people, are few and far between, except for the ubiquitous school tour buses. It is argued, therefore, that bungee jumping, an iconic form of hard adventure tourism, represents a maturing of the tourism market in Soweto as it attracts domestic tourists to the locality. Furthermore, Orlando Bungee is helping to foster significant enterprise development and job creation in this disadvantaged community, making the enterprise pro-poor. Lastly, as the bungee jumping operation represents private investment in a former ‘brown field’ site, it is also contributing to the urban renewal initiatives of the area.
Keywords: Tourism, Soweto, bungee jumping, urban renewal, urban adventure.
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