The changing accommodation landscape of Free State, 1936-2010: A case of tourism geography

  • JM Rogerson
Keywords: Accommodation, tourism geography, spatial change, hotels, Free State.


Over the past decade the research of tourism geographers has evidenced considerable variety and in so doing contributed to the multi-disciplinary character of tourism studies. However, one dimension of the tourism landscape that is particularly the domain of geographers of tourism is mapping and interpreting the spatial organization of tourism. A longitudinal analysis was applied in order to understand the changing geography of accommodation in the Free State from 1936 to 2010. Throughout the analysis, the changes taking place in the landscape of accommodation in the Free State are embedded in relation to shifts occurring at the national scale in the tourism economy and of legislation which impacts upon the nature of hotel development.The analysis shows that the regional dimension of the accommodation landscape is inexplicable without reference to the national scale and to understanding the changing nature of the hotel and the appearance of new forms of small-scale tourism accommodation. In the Free State, a longitudinal investigation of the spatial supply of accommodation shows that the patterns of hotels reveals marked changes. Of particular note is the early widespread dispersion of hotels throughout the region. From the 1970s the pattern of hotels becomes more closely linked to tourism market considerations and areas of potential demand for leisure and business travellers. In spatial terms, a polarization of the accommodation sector is observed and paralleled by the hollowing out and closure of hotels in many small towns. From the 1990s the regional economy of accommodation becomes more complex with the appearance of new small-scale forms of accommodation which create new geographies of accommodation supply.

Keywords: Accommodation, tourism geography, spatial change, hotels, Free State.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1117-4315