Developing a sustainable community tourism strategy for townships : the case of Soshanguve
Acha-Anyi, Paul Nkemngu
MetadataShow full item record
The goal of this study is to develop a sustainable tourism strategy for the Soshanguve Township. The motivation for this study arose out of the acute developmental challenges facing many township communities in South Africa, mainly due to the absence of economic opportunities. This results in a high unemployment rate, poverty and an elevated number of crime incidences. A sustainable community tourism strategy could alleviate this situation by availing itself of the opportunities presented by the booming tourism industry to the Soshanguve township, and other communities with similar characteristics. To this end, a firm conceptual framework was laid through the review of literature on the tourism system and indicators of sustainability, tourism development planning, tourism development in South Africa, and community tourism. Literature on the tourism system was instrumental in conceptualising the components required for tourism development to take root in Soshanguve township, namely the potential demand for Soshanguve tourism (including tourists’ region of origin), the infrastructure and services required for visitors en route to the destination, and the readiness of the local community and tourism industry in Soshanguve for tourism development (products, facilities and services). The concept of sustainability and indicators thereof are explored in order to provide a benchmark for monitoring tourism development in Soshanguve, and to ensure that the gains from tourism are preserved for the future. Literature on tourism development planning provided the necessary organisational dimension needed to avoid chaotic development and any potential negative impacts. Furthermore, an analysis of tourism development in South Africa was instrumental in positioning the Soshanguve tourism development strategy within the national, regional and local government context. Finally, the community tourism development component provided vital input from existing research on community tourism initiatives. The research paradigm was both quantitative and qualitative. Following the exploratory research approach, three surveys were conducted by means of self-administered questionnaires. The aim was to explore the demand side of the Soshanguve tourism product through a survey of potential visitors to the Soshanguve township, as well as the supply side through a survey of residents of Soshanguve (ascertaining perceptions of tourism impacts on their community) and another survey of tourism business managers (to assessing product availability and quality). This process was complemented by a qualitative study by means of interviews with three community leaders to explore in greater detail the unique selling points in Soshanguve, tourism planning issues, and the objectives of tourism development in the community. The following literature sources constituted the pillars of the questionnaires, World Economic Forum, 2008:38; Keyser, 2008:37; Simpson, 2008:1 and Oyola et al., 2012:662-665. The interview questions were largely drawn from tourism planning literature (Commonwealth of Australia, 2004:7; Lee, 2012:2; Chi & Dyer,2010; Nunkoo & Ramkissoo, 2011). The demand side questionnaire was administered to 401 (N) visitors to City of Tshwane between the 23rd and 27th of September 2013. These were considered to be potential tourists to Soshanguve because these visitors were in the Pretoria Central Business District which is just about 45 kilometres away from Soshanguve. The second survey (supply side) was administered to 429 (N) residents of the Soshanguve community between 5th October 2013 and 9th October 2013. The product managers’ questionnaire was administered to all 29 (N) managers of tourism businesses identified in Soshanguve from 11th October 2013 to 16th of October 2013. Finally, interviews with the three community leaders were held between the 28th of September 2013 and the 10th of October 2013. The data collected was processed by the Statistical Consultation Services of the North-West University (Potchefstroom campus) using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software programme. The results were analysed using descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, factor correlation analysis, Spearman’s rank correlations, ANOVA tests and t-tests. The results of the descriptive analysis revealed the travel behaviour of the visitors as highly favourable to day visits with most holidays lasting between two and three days. The majority of respondents used hotel accommodation and arrived at the destination by car. The greatest motivation for taking a holiday was to relax, with the most preferred holiday activity being to visit historical places, followed closely by appreciating nature. The most important determinant of the holiday destination choice was finances, with security featuring next. It was also evident that most of the visitors were not familiar with townships around the City of Tshwane as just about half of them had visited a township in the past. The greatest motivation for visiting a township was to experience traditional dance, drama and music. The study further conducted three factor analyses on visitor motivations for taking a holiday, visitor holiday activities, and holiday destination choice determinants. The exploratory factor analysis identified five factors in the travel motivations (socio-cultural motivators, interpersonal motivators, physical motivators, status motivators, and recovery motivators), four factors among the preferred activities (adventure activities, cultural activities, social activities, and outdoor activities), and five factors among the holiday destination choice determinants (familiarity, physical well-being, economic factors, safety and recommendations/references). The factor correlation matrix revealed no significant correlations between them, although there were visible correlations between the socio-cultural motivators for taking a holiday and recovery motivators. The same could be said of adventure activities and cultural activities. The t-test indicated no significant differences between visitors who had previously been to the township and those who had not. Regarding the results of the supply side analysis, the focus was on the residents of Soshanguve, the tourism product managers in the community, and interviews with the community leaders. The descriptive statistics revealed that many residents had a strong attachment to their community as they would not consider living elsewhere. Generally, they have a positive perception of tourism impacts on their community, as most of them agree that tourism development would be beneficial to both the community and themselves. The product managers think business has been good, but the quality of the products is questionable considering that most of the tourism businesses neither belong to an industry association for peer evaluation nor have received any grading. Results of the qualitative study indicated that even though there is a tourism product development plan for Soshanguve at the City of Tshwane tourism office, none of the community leaders interviewed was aware of this. This seems to suggest that the public consultation process was either not followed or was flawed. The interviews also unearthed the rich history, natural environment and cultural heritage of the Soshanguve people. Finally, a factor matrix analysis was performed on the perceptions of the residents on the impacts of tourism development on their community and the general tourism business success factors in Soshanguve. Five impact factors (economic, social, infrastructure, environmental, and recreational) were identified with the factor correlation analysis revealing visible correlations between infrastructure and recreation/entertainment. An ANOVA test was conducted to determine if there are any correlations between the community attachment of respondents and their perceptions of tourism impacts. No significant correlations were found. The exploratory factor matrix analysis on the general tourism industry success factors yielded six factors, namely facilities and services, communication tools, access, visibility, human resources, and safety. The factor correlation analysis indicated no significant correlations between the factors. The key contributions of this study can be noted as follows: * The development of a pioneer sustainable community tourism strategy for Soshanguve, in particular and townships in general; * The proposed inclusive stakeholder consultative approach in the development of sustainable township tourism; * The holistic approach to tourism destination planning that takes into consideration the tourists origin region, conditions in the transit route region and the host destiantion; * Finally, the application of methodological triangulation in township tourism research.