Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

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Challenges of sustainable rural tourism development in KwaZulu-Natal

TA Nzama


Tourism has emerged as one of the strategic instruments and policy tools for community and regional development in Southern Africa (Rogerson, 2007 in Saarinen, et al. 2009). Gradually, tourism is rotating to the political centre stage as an instrument of social and economic empowerment (Binns & Nel, 2002). Consequently, local government authorities have instituted initiatives for promoting tourism as a sustainable economic driver in their municipalities. Sustainable rural tourism development is widely supported because it does not threaten the integrity of the ecological and social systems upon which communities and societies are dependent. Marien & Pizam in Wahab & Pigram (2004:165) argue that since communities are constantly changing, like the nature of tourism, evaluating community’s sensitivity and associated impacts should not be regarded as an temporary event but as an ongoing process. This study focuses on the strategic development of sustainable rural tourism in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, more specifically Ntambanana Municipality. The objectives of the study were as follows: (a) To identify natural and sociocultural resources that can be used for rural tourism development. (b) To assess the participation level of local communities in tourism development. (c) To establish the extent to which the tourism policies and strategies are implemented. (d) To identify the capacity of the local communities to develop tourism products. (e) To reveal the challenges that impede sustainable rural tourism development. Data from a sample size of 320 were collected and analysed using the SPSS programme. The findings of the study indicated that there is potential for natural, cultural and heritage tourism due to the existence of a variety of related resources. The findings, however, indicated that local people are not aware of these resources hence the lack of participation in tourism development. Various strategies were suggested for raising social awareness and the promotion of cultural and heritage resources in the rural area.

Keywords: Tourism, rural tourism, sustainable tourism development, socio-cultural resources.

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