African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Industrial heritage tourism at the ‘Big Hole’, Kimberley, South Africa

CD van der Merwe, CM Rogerson


Heritage tourism is an expanding segment of the global tourism economy. Industrial heritage is one element of this niche tourism sector and remains under-investigated in South Africa. Using a mixed methods approach this study investigates the case of The ‘Big Hole’, Kimberley as an example of industrial heritage tourism in South Africa. It is revealed that despite optimism and major investment into heritage tourism at the local level, heritage tourism is under-performing. Kimberley is a settlement rich in cultural and industrial heritage but shown to be currently a declining tourism centre. The study demonstrates the limitations in local tourism marketing, poor budgeting, as well as lack of leadership and strategic direction for tourism development at the local government level. These issues must be addressed if heritage tourism in South Africa is to contribute successfully to local economic development.

Keywords: Heritage tourism, industrial heritage, Kimberley, local development, sustainable tourism.

AJOL African Journals Online