Urban Tourism

Topics: City, Tourism, South Africa Pages: 11 (3213 words) Published: July 28, 2010
Impacts of Urban Tourism: A Case Study of Cape Town


For many countries, tourism is regarded as a new activity. It is becoming one of the most crucial social and economic activities. The increase in the demand for urban tourism or tourism in cities has occurred over the last few decades (Paskeleva-Shapira, 2003).However, the literature on urban tourism is still relatively new (Tyler, Guerrier, and Robertson, 1998; Timur and Getz, 2008).

Urbanisation is a global process. It is defined by Johnston (1981, P.363) as ‘a process by which: first, an increasing proportion of an area’s population become concentrated in its statistically defined urban places.’ It is a vital force leading to ‘development of towns and cities, where people live, work and shop’ (Page, 1997: p.112). Urban tourism development since the late 1970s has brought about an industrially based to an informational technology based (Page and Hall, 2003). Through the process of urbanization places, tourism in urban environments has not contributed to a significant urban tourism development (Ashwood, 1992), however, urban tourism itself has yields both positive and negative impacts for the city and its population.

Discussed in the paper is to understand both positive and negative impacts of urban tourism in terms of economic, socio-cultural as well as environmental that impacts Cape Town, one of the most rapidly growing cities in the Republic of South Africa.

Impacts of Urban Tourism: A Case Study of Cape Town


The tourism of The Republic of South Africa has drastically been popular for foreign visitors. One of its most famous cities is Cape Town which is situated on the southwestern tip of continent and at an oceanic divide. The city is the capital of the Western Cape. It is voted fifth in the BBC television list of ‘fifty places to see before you die’ and was also voted as best African/Middle East destination (Pirie, 2007). The city is expected to become a principal destination for international tourists.

With the quality of its unexplored land, beautiful landscapes and oceans as well as its exotic people and animals, the uniqueness of the city attracts a numbers of tourists to come and visit the place. Inevitably, the growth in tourism contributes to urban areas impacts (Racine and Cosinschi, 1990, impson, 1999). Young (1973) claims that tourism could be viewed as a ‘blessing’ or a blight’ as the phenomenon does not only contribute to benefits but it also causes the city negative impacts (ibid). Generally, urban tourism could impact a city in three major aspects: economic, socio-cultural and environmental. Discussed in the following part are both positive and negative impacts that are the consequences of urban tourism of the city Cape Town.

The economic impacts of urban tourism on Cape Town

Urban tourism has led to economic impact at two levels: macro or national level and micro or sub-national level (Dieke, 2003). At the macro level, tourism’s role cherishes economic growth through foreign exchange earnings and the increase of the state’s revenue (ibid). At the second level, micro or sub-national level, tourism leads to an increment of employment, income or revenue distribution and balanced regional development (ibid).

According to Cape Town, at the macro level, urban tourism generates increasing revenue to the city. As the consequence of the growth in urban tourism, foreign investment has been encouraged by the South African government. For instance, the government allows trade and industrial activities to be undertaken. This is reported that since 1994, foreign portfolio and direct investments that related to hospitality and tourism made into the country have increased considerably (Datamonitor, 2008), contributing to economic growth of the city. For instance, the country’s economy increased by 4.9 per cent and 4.8 per cent in 2006 and 2007, respectively (ibid). It is also...
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