Demand analysis of South Africa as competitive tourist destination
The main aim of this study was to analyse tourism competitiveness and conduct a demand analysis of South Africa as a tourist destination. To achieve this aim, four objectives were set: firstly, to conduct a literature overview to analyse competitiveness, definitions and models and aspects of competitiveness of South African tourism; secondly, to conduct a literature review and analysis based on previous research studies done on the competitiveness of destinations within the tourism industry; thirdly, to investigate the competitiveness of South Africa as a tourist destination from a demand point of view using quantitative research; and lastly, to draw conclusions and make recommendations concerning the tourism competitiveness of South Africa as a tourist destination. By means of the literature overview, it was established that not all researchers agree on what the concept competitiveness truly means. However, certain researchers agree that competitiveness refers to the competition among destinations or places. The significant findings of the literature overview are that no single definition or model is currently utilised within literature that is fully expressive of the meaning of the term competitiveness. A comprehensive literature review and analysis was conducted which focussed on obtainable (published) articles that dealt with tourism- or destination competitiveness. This review showed that most of the articles published on tourism or destination competitiveness focussed on Europe and that only eleven out of one hundred and twenty-one (121) articles in the sample focussed on South Africa specifically. The major finding is that a gap exists in tourism competitiveness research regarding the approach being used to investigate the tourism aspects of competitiveness. This is due to the majority of the articles having researched tourism competitiveness aspects/factors from a supply side. The empirical study comprised an investigation of the competitiveness of South Africa as a tourist destination from a demand point of view using quantitative research and capturing descriptive and exploratory data. Descriptive results were used to profile the respondents, determine the competitiveness aspects and to conduct a temporal analysis of these competitiveness aspects and strengths and weaknesses of South Africa. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify the factors contributing to tourism competitiveness. The results showed that five (5) factors were identified contributing to tourism competitiveness from a demand side, namely: Tourism services, Risk and quality, Unique tourism attributes, Locality and Entertainment and amenities. Recommendations are: Employers could send their employees for training to ensure that they know how to treat the guests. This training includes improving the services at the hotel, guesthouse, restaurant or attractions in order to ensure hospitality from the employees' side; Safety of South Africa should be promoted more vividly, seeing that the majority of the respondents indicated safety to be a weakness, as well as that it is extremely important for the competitiveness of a destination. This could be done by including "safety tips" before or while the travel agents sell the packages. The research conducted in this study not only provided information about the competitiveness factors of South Africa as a tourism destination from a demand point of view, but also provided findings of other competitiveness aspects or factors of other destinations. If one has knowledge of the competitiveness factors of a destination, it could lead to growth in tourist numbers.