EuroEconomica, Vol 37, No 2 (2018)

Tourism and Climate Change: Stakeholder Perceptions of At Risk Tourism Segments in South Africa

Wayde R. Pandy, Christian M. Rogerson


The aim is to investigate the perspectives of key South African tourism industry stakeholders surrounding the issue of climate change. Previous research has shown that while the tourism industry in many countries is aware of the significance and potential ramifications of climate change, it is not considered a pressing issue and not the least since the impact of the 2008 global economic crisis. In Africa, with the tourism sector potentially facing major threats from climate change, the need for further research is urgent especially with respect to stakeholder perceptions. The study analyzes the development of national policy towards climate change and tourism and the perceptions of 31 key stakeholders on the segments of the national tourism economy most at risk from climate change. The results show at national government level South Africa is seeking to enact tourism and climate based policies. This said, the degree to which such policies might be implementable must be questioned not only in relation to capacity issues at the scale of local government but by the depth of revealed commitment of stakeholders in terms of making meaningful adjustments to the challenges of climate change because of their perceptions of risk. In particular, the interviewees highlighted their awareness that climate change is responsible for threats to biodiversity as well as assets for coastal and marine tourism. Overall the stakeholders perceived differences in the impacts of climate change for different segments of the tourism economy. Of concern was that stakeholders gainsay the potential impacts of climate change for certain segments which international evidence suggests will most definitely be at risk. 


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