Vol.1 No.2 Sept. 2009 1
An assessment of the impact of tourism globalization in Africa Thomas P. Z. Mpofu 1
The tourism sector is one of one of the exemplars of the phenomenon of globalization. This is due to the geographical scale of the industry, increased spatial linkages between places and people from different locations. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the extent to which tourism globalization had impacted on African countries. The paper submits that some African countries have indeed increased their revenues and foreign currency earnings, created employment, brought new technology, and improved their tourism facilities and services to meet international standards. Globalization has created respect for African cultures and contributed to the protection of historical monuments and natural environments. The paper notes the role of technological improvements in transportation and telecommunications in making global travel shrink in terms of time and distance. However, the paper notes that globalization has also brought negative impacts to Africa. These include financial leakages, price increases, and a change in some African cultural values. The paper concludes that the world is in the era of globalization and that the phenomenon is here to stay. Therefore, the paper recommends that Africa should closely monitor the negative impacts of globalization while
continuing to reap the benefits that accrue from tourism globalization. Key words: globalization, spatial linkages, multinational corporations, vertical and horizontal mergers.
Although the term globalization has now been in use for several years, its contemporary connotation is rooted in the study of international relations (Burns and Holden, 1995; Youell, 1998). The word now cuts across the entire spectrum of academic
‘tribalism’ as it is being defined differently by different scholars, depending on their subject perspectives. A geographical
PhD (Assistant Professor) under the Urban Management Masters Program, a World Bank-funded Capacity Building Program, Ethiopian Civil Service College, Addis-Ababa. Contacts: email@example.com, or
Thomas P. Z. Mpofu
perspective of the term has been presented by Short and Kim
(1999) and Shaw and Williams (2002). The former see
globalization as the stretching of activities across the globe while the latter regard the globalization phenomenon as a spatial
widening of the linkages between places, leading to the
internationalization of cultures, more global flows of products and services and increased competition. Thus globalization has
become a process that renders various activities and aspirations worldwide in scope.
Globalization has also become an umbrella term used for a
complex series of economic, social, technological, cultural and political changes that are seen as increasing interdependence, integration and interaction between people and companies in
different locations. In particular, it is due to the increase in worldwide business and trade between multinational and
transnational corporations, among others, irrespective of their geographical locations, that the term has gained prominence
(Cooper et al, 1998). It is these inherent characteristics of globalization that have precipitated national boundaries to be more fluid or porous with respect to the movement of people and services.
Globalization and the tourism industry
The geographical widening of linkages between places has
become a major factor in the development of international
tourism, leading to the internationalization of tourism, leisure ‘culture’, more global flows of tourists, and increased competition (Tribe, 1997; Youell, 1998). Through the process of
intensification, the long-established trickles of tourists to the most distant corners of the globe have been transformed into large scale tourist flows (Waters, 1995). Shaw and Williams (2002) have added...