South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Competitiveness of South Africa as a tourist destination

Melville Saayman, Engelina Du Plessis


The aim of this paper was to determine which factors are important in order for South Africa to remain globally competitive. This is necessary as a result of more destinations globally offering tourism products, and because marketing, especially via the Internet, has opened up a new world for potential tourists. Coupled with this is the impact of globalisation on tourism. Despite the latter, South Africa has improved significantly since 1990 as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. To be able to achieve the aim of this paper, 150 international inbound tour operators were identified and a questionnaire was used to collate the required information. Sixty-four tour operators participated in this survey and the results showed that the assurance of safety was identified as the most important factor globally in order to be competitive. This research also identified South Africa's strengths and weaknesses as well as its competitive advantages. Safety was indicated as South Africa's greatest weakness from a tour operator's point of view. Marketing and dissemination of information regarding South Africa as a tourist destination also were not rated high in the survey. The paper concludes with the implications of the above findings for the tourism industry in South Africa, and by looking at what has to be done in order to remain competitive.

Keywords: Competitiveness, Competitive advantage, South Africa, Tourism, Tourist destination

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol.25(2) 2003: 57-66

AJOL African Journals Online