Rethinking township tourism: towards responsible tourism development in South African townships

SOURCE: Development Southern Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2010
TITLE AUTHOR(S): I.Booyens
KEYWORDS: SOWETO, TOURISM, TOURISM DEVELOPMENT, TOWNSHIP
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6407

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Abstract

Township tourism in South Africa has grown in popularity since 1994 and is considered by some to be an appropriate mechanism for stimulating local economic development. This paper suggests, however, that it is not necessarily a viable or responsible development option, since it does not automatically ensure pro-poor benefits or enhance community development. Primary research conducted in Soweto to understand visitor demand and tourism stakeholder perspectives suggests there is a demand for responsible tourism in townships. The paper contributes to South African debates about the developmental role of tourism, township tourism and local economic development, responsible tourism, and the related policy implications. It calls for responsible township tourism development in which local authorities play a vital role and recommends the development of township tourism attractions, with a focus on culture and heritage, to create unique visitor experiences.