Main Article Content
The South African tourism industry has been previously seen as a field of human activity dominated by the elite and affluent in South Africa. The previously disadvantaged indigenous communities (PDICs) have not benefited significantly from this industry and have even designated it as the “white man’s activity” (DEAT, 1996: 14). In an attempt to reverse this situation, the government has designed a variety of new tourism policies and strategies that seek to redress the imbalances of the past. The notion of skills development and related practices was specifically seen as a potential area within which participation in tourism as a human activity could be improved for the PDICs. This article seeks to report on the theoretical framework, analysis of data and related findings pertaining to the status of tourism skills development practices for the PDICs in the uMhlathuze Local Municipality. The main objectives of this article are to: explore how stakeholders understand the importance of tourism skills development practices; show how the uMhlathuze authorities attempt to facilitate tourism skills development practices; reveal respondents’ perceptions of the implementation of the tourism skills development policies and practices; establish whether there are any tourism skills development practice-benefits for the PDICs in the area. The article advocates, that in order for tourism strategies to succeed, there is need for local indigenous communities be empowered with tourism skills and practices they can relate to. The findings of the article suggest that the majority of respondents understand the meaning and importance of tourism and tourism skills development practices within the uMhlathuze municipal area. The respondents also felt that the skills development opportunities were inaccessible in the area, as well as that the provision of tourism skills was inadequate. The findings also show that the implementation of tourism skills development practices were poorly executed as well as not adequately benefiting the local indigenous communities.
Keywords: Tourism, tourism policies, practices, planning, management, indigenous people, skills development, community development, strategy, perception.