Urban Forum

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 89–103 | Cite as

Decent Work in the South African Tourism Industry: Evidence from Tourist Guides

  • Andries De Beer
  • Christian M. Rogerson
  • Jayne M. Rogerson


Within tourism scholarship in general and in African tourism in particular, there is a paucity of research relating to employment conditions in the tourism industry. In South Africa, this knowledge gap is acute in light of the vital role of tourism in national government strategies for employment creation and of the emphasis given to promoting ‘decent work’. This article uses a mixed methods approach to examine work conditions of South African tourist guides. The findings reveal the majority of tourist guides are in precarious or vulnerable forms of temporary short-term work, much of which is outside of existing labour regulations. The largest share of tourist guides are white males with limited careers spent in tour guiding. Many guides are retired or semi-retired from other professions and often engaged in the activity for lifestyle rather than economic motivations. The findings of this study challenge South African policy makers about the nature of decent work in tourism.


Tourism employment Decent work Tourist guides South Africa 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andries De Beer
    • 1
  • Christian M. Rogerson
    • 2
  • Jayne M. Rogerson
    • 3
  1. 1.Cape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.School of Tourism & Hospitality, Faculty of ManagementUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Geography, Environmental Management & Energy StudiesUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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