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Township Tourism Demand: Tourists’ Perceptions of Safety and Security

Abstract

Township tourism has emerged as an important part of the urban tourism product in post-1994 South Africa. Approximately, 25 % of all international tourists visiting Cape Town participate in township tours. However, in recent years, doubts about personal safety have cast a negative light on the township tourism offering. Consideration regarding tourist safety and security, therefore, is important since it may have implications for the future growth and development of this market. The aim of this study was to investigate tourists’ perceptions of safety and security whilst on a township tour. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 317 tourists who participated in township tours in the Greater Cape Town area. The study found that the majority (73 %) of respondents felt safe whilst on a township tour. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed were satisfied with the township tour that they went on, whilst 82 % of respondents said that they would recommend a township tour. This paper argues that there is a latent demand for culture-led, experience-based township tourism product development to create more opportunities for entrepreneurship and local economic development. Further recommendations for policymakers and tour operators are also provided.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    There is limited published research on township tourism in Cape Town (as mentioned in the ‘Introduction’). A discussion regarding the township tourism product is based on studies done in Soweto, Gauteng.

  2. 2.

    A total of 150 visitor questionnaires were administered face-to-face to visitors at key attractions in Cape Town during 2012.

  3. 3.

    From qualitative interviews in Cape Town during 2013 by one of the authors as part of a current, unpublished study on innovation in tourism.

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Correspondence to Richard George.

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George, R., Booyens, I. Township Tourism Demand: Tourists’ Perceptions of Safety and Security. Urban Forum 25, 449–467 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-014-9228-2

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Keywords

  • Visitor demand
  • Tourist perceptions
  • Safety and security
  • Poverty tourism
  • Cape Town
  • Urban tourism