EuroEconomica, Vol 37, No 2 (2018)

Tourism Potential, Economic Impacts and Implications in Marginalised Areas in Ndwedwe Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Suveshnee Munien, Sindiswa Phungula, Urmilla Bob


 Rural development is a focus of development initiatives in South Africa and the role of tourism in this regard is highlighted. Ndwedwe Local Municipality, one of KwaZulu-Natal’s poorest Municipalities, has a primary node (Ndwedwe Town) surrounded by rural areas that lack basic infrastructure and services. The Municipality has substantial cultural and agricultural assets and natural resources and its’ Integrated Development Plan recognises its tourism potential but focuses on development around Ndwedwe Town with agricultural development being the focus in peripheral areas. This study examines the tourism potential and economic impacts within marginalised rural areas outside Ndwedwe Town. Community perceptions on development opportunities and challenges in relation to tourism development are probed via a quantitative survey approach. In-depth face-to-face interviews were conducted with 164 randomly chosen households. The study unpacked the profile of respondents and households (relating these to how well individuals and households are positioned to benefit from tourism opportunities), current participation in tourism, skill levels and willingness to participate in tourism. Tourism potential in these areas is also discussed in the context of current infrastructure and services. The results reveal that while very few households currently participate in tourism-related activities, there was a desire to increase household participation. Limited tourism products (although potential exists in relation to natural resources available, cultural assets and agricultural activities), inadequate infrastructure and services (associated with challenging undulating topography) and limited marketing opportunities undermine the development of rural tourism in the area. Addressing these challenges and inadequacies can ensure viable and sustainable tourism development.


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