Managing Socio-Cultural Impacts of Tourism on the Rural Tourism Destinations in Kwazulu-Natal with Special Reference to Areas Within and Around the World Heritage Sites
Rural destinations within and around the World Heritage Sites have been required to implement planning procedures which would attract tourists that bring economic benefits while at the same time ensuring that the socio-cultural and environmental fabric of the community is not compromised. KwaZulu-Natal province has two World Heritage Sites, Isimangaliso and uKhahlamba Drakensberg. These World Heritage Sites are surrounded by rural areas that are relatively pristine and have characteristics of ecological importance. Tourists interact and mingle with local people while purchasing art and craft and other products. This mingling has been associated with discernible changes in the culture and lifestyles of local communities. This article is based on a study that focused on the ways in which socio-cultural impacts of tourism on rural areas around World Heritage Sites can be managed. The findings of the study indicate that various approaches can be used to curb socio-cultural impacts of tourism on rural tourist destinations and protect local culture from degradation.
Keywords: World Heritage Sites, cultural degradation, environmental fabric, discernible changes, socio-cultural impacts.