The developmental impact of tourism in the Western Cape, South Africa
This study analyses the dynamics and impact of international tourism in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It investigate how the Western Cape tourism sector interrelates with the international sector, and what developmental outcomes this has in the province. In terms of tourism's impact the study shows that it is geographically concentrated, with tourist activities focuses in and around the Cape metropolitan area and along the south eastern coastline. The province's rural areas have a very small share in the tourism market. Overall, tourism is following long-established patterns, being centred on the promotion of a number of traditional attractions and tourist images. The nature and distribution of tourism is partly related to the role and actions of key producers. Tour operators, for example, have an important effect on travel flows. They, along with other producers and agents such as the media, significantly influence consumers' knowledge and perceptions, and consequently the image(s) of the Western Cape. This in turn has an important consequence on localities and destinations that are visited by tourists. Furthermore, investment trends show that there is limited infrastructural development and demand-stimulation by the government or other tourism producers in regions where tourism impact is lowest. The provincial government is pursing an objective of sustained tourism growth, and greater tourism equity and impact distribution. This objective is hampered by several factors. The Western Cape tourism economy has significantly grown over the past seven years, but a number of aspects may constrain continued growth. Firstly, political, economic and social factors in the larger exogenous environment play an important role in restricting tourist demand. This, coupled with seasonal fluctuations in demand has led to a sector characterised by overcapacity. The regime governing flight access and availability to the Western Cape furthermore has a limiting effect on tourism production and consumption. In practice, the goals of growth and equity are difficult to balance. The government primarily seeks to do this by coupling the development of new products that involve the historically disadvantaged population of the province with an innovative product offer that appears to both traditional and new market segments. There is however a generally low level of demand for new or alternative products such as township tourism in international source markets.