Leisure Tourism Space and Urban Change: Lessons from Cape Town and Stellenbosch to Contemplate in Urban South Africa

  • Gustav VisserEmail author
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL)


Tourism, with a significant component thereof comprising leisure tourism, is one of the largest economic systems globally and employs millions. The international tourism system has since the 1950s seen unpresented growth in most countries on all continents. This growth in both tourism products and consumers have for the most part taken place in urban areas. Leisure tourism has been shaping urban spaces for many decades although its relevance has only relatively recently been acknowledged. Similarly, leisure tourism has expanded in South Africa with a key focus on its urban areas. The impact of leisure tourism in South Africa has been highly uneven across the urban space economy. This investigation traces some of the development trends of leisure tourism in Cape Town and Stellenbosch respectively. It is argued that leisure tourism is increasingly creating uneven and exclusionary urban spaces. The challenges this presents to South African urban places in general is then considered.


South Africa Urban tourism Leisure tourism Stellenbosch 


  1. Ashworth, G., & Page, S. J. (2011). Urban tourism research: Recent progress and current paradoxes. Tourism Management, 32(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bickford-Smith, V. (2009). Creating a city of the tourist imagination: The case of Cape Town, ‘The Fairest Cape of Them All’. Urban Studies, 46(9), 1763–1785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butler, S. (2010). Should I stay or should I go? Negotiating township tours in Post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 8(1–2), 15–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carls, K. (2016). The changing face of woodstock: A study of inner-city gentrification. MA thesis, Stellenbosch, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University.Google Scholar
  5. Cassim, R. (1993). Tourism and development in South Africa. Economic Trends Working Paper No. 18. Cape Town: University of Cape Town.Google Scholar
  6. Chang, T., & Huang, S. (2004). Urban tourism: Between the global and the local. In A. A. Lew, C. M. Hall & A. M. Williams (Eds.), A companion to tourism. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  7. Clarke, T. (Ed.). (2004). The city as an entertainment machine. Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  8. Dewar, N. (2004). “Stemming the tide”: Revitalizing the central business district of Cape Town. South African Geographical Journal, 86(2), 91–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Donaldson, R. (2014). The production of quartered spaces in Stellenbosch. Inaugural Address, Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch University. Retrieved from September 4, 2014.Google Scholar
  10. Eastes, N. (2017). A comparative analysis of the spatial-temporal development of guest houses in the Stellenbosch Municipality area 1996–2017. Honours Project, Stellenbosch University, Department of Geography, Stellenbosch University.Google Scholar
  11. Echtner, C., & Jamal, T. (1997). The disciplinary dilemma of tourism studies. Annals of Tourism Research, 24(4), 868–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferrario, F. (1977). Ab evaluation of the tourism potential of KwaZulu-Natal. Durban: Development Corporation.Google Scholar
  13. Ferreria, S. (2017). Development of wine tourism: Destination life cycle, wine resorts and lifestyle farming. Inaugural Address, Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch University. Retrieved from March 30, 2017.Google Scholar
  14. Ferreira, S. & Müller, R. (2013). Innovating the wine tourism product: Food-and-wine pairing in Stellenbosch wine routes. African Journal of Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance, Supplement 2, 72–85.Google Scholar
  15. Ferreira, S., & Visser, G. (2007). Creating an African Riviera: Revisiting the impact of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront development in Cape Town. Urban Forum, 18(3), 227–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class: And how its transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  17. Frenzel, F. (2014). Slum tourism and urban regeneration: Touring Inner Johannesburg. Urban Forum, 25(4), 431–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frenzel, F. (2018). On the question of using the concept ‘slum tourism’ for urban tourism in stigmatized neighbourhoods in inner city Johannesburg. Urban Forum, 29(1), 51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gill, A. (2012). Travelling down the road to postdisciplinarity? Reflections of a tourism geographer. The Canadian Geographer, 56, 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gotham, K. (2001). Critical perspectives on urban redevelopment. Oxford: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gravari-Barbas, M., & Guindand, S. (Eds.). (2017). Tourism and gentrification in contemporary metropolises. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Haasbroek, F. (1988). Die ligging van restaurants in Stellenbosch en omgewing. Honours Project, Stellenbosch University, Department of Geography, Stellenbosch University.Google Scholar
  23. Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hoogendoorn, G., & Giddy, J. (2017). Does this look like a slum: Walking tours in the Johannesburg inner city. Urban Forum, 28(3), 315–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoogendoorn, G., & Rogerson, C. M. (2015). Tourism geography in the global south: New South African perspectives. South African Geographical Journal, 97(2), 101–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jansen-Verbeke, M. (1997). Urban tourism: Managing resources and visitors. In S. Wahab & J. Pigram (Eds.), Tourism, development and growth (pp. 237–256). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Law, C. M. (1992). Urban tourism and its contribution to economics. Urban Studies, 29, 599–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Law, C. M. (1993). Urban tourism: Attracting visitors to large cities. London: Mansell.Google Scholar
  29. Lew, A., Hall, C. M. & Williams, A. (Eds.) (2015), The Wiley Blackwell companion to tourism. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. McDonald, D. (2008). World city syndrome: Neoliberalism and Inequality in Cape Town. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Middleton, D. (2017). A geography of restaurants in Stellenbosch. Honours Project, Stellenbosch University, Department of Geography, Stellenbosch University.Google Scholar
  32. Mosedale, J. (2002). Political economy of tourism regulation theory, institutions, and governance networks. In A. Lew, C. M. Hall & A. Williams (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Tourism (pp. 55–65). Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.Google Scholar
  33. Müller, D. (Ed.). (2019). A research agenda for tourism geographies (pp. 107–116). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nunkoo, R. (2015). Special issue: Tourism and hospitality development in African economies: Perspectives and challenges. Development Southern Africa, 32(3), 275–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Page, S., & Hall, C. M. (2003). Managing urban tourism. Harlow: Pearson.Google Scholar
  36. Parnell, S., & Oldfield, S. (Eds.). (2014). The Routledge handbook on cities of the global south. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Pirie, G. (2007). “Reanimating a Comatose Goddess”: Reconfiguring Central Cape Town. Urban Forum, 18, 125–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pratt, A. C. (2017). Innovation and the cultural economy. In H. Bathelt, P. Cohendet, S. Henn, & L. Simon (Eds.), The Elgar companion to innovation and knowledge creation: A multi-disciplinary approach (pp. 200–215). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  39. Rehder, A. (1995). Onlangse tyd-ruimtelike patrone van restaurant in Stellenbosch en omgewing. Honours Project, Stellenbosch, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Stellenbosch University.Google Scholar
  40. Rogerson. C. M. (2005). Conference and exhibition tourism in South Africa. Urban tourism in the developing world. Urban Forum 16(2), 176–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rogerson, C. M. (2011). Urban tourism and regional tourists: Shopping in Johannesburg South Africa. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 102(3), 316–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rogerson, C. M. (2013). Urban tourism, economic generation and inclusion: Evidence from South Africa. Local Economy, 28(2), 188–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rogerson, C. M. (2015a). Revisiting VFR tourism in South Africa. South African Geographical Journal, 97(2), 139–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rogerson, C. M. (2015b). The uneven geography of business tourism in South Africa. South African Geographical Journal, 97(2), 183–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rogerson, C. M. (2016). Secondary cities and tourism: The South African record. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, 5(2), 1–12.Google Scholar
  46. Rogerson, C. M., & Rogerson, J. M. (2014). Urban tourism destinations in South Africa: Divergent trajectories 2001–2012. Urbani Izziv, 25, S189–S203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rogerson, C. M., & Rogerson, J. M. (2017). City tourism in South Africa: Diversity and change. Tourism Review International, 21(2), 193–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rogerson, C.M. & Rogerson, J.M. (2019a). Historical urban tourism: Developmental challenges in Johannesburg 1920–1950. Urbani Izziv, 30, S112–S128.Google Scholar
  49. Rogerson, J. M., & Rogerson, C. M. (2019b, in press). Hermanus. In J. M. Rogerson & G. Visser (Eds.), New research frontiers in South African tourism geography. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  50. Rogerson, C. M., & Visser, G. (Eds.). (2004). Tourism and development issues in contemporary South Africa. Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa.Google Scholar
  51. Rogerson, C. M., & Visser, G. (Eds.). (2007). Urban tourism in the developing world: The South African experience. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Press.Google Scholar
  52. Saarinen, J. (2019, in press) Not a serious subject? Academic relevancy and critical tourism geographies. In D. Müller (Ed.), A research agenda for tourism geography. London: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  53. Smith, N. (1996). The new urban frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  54. StatsSA. (2019). How do tourist spend their money? Retrieved from
  55. Turok, I., & Visagie, G. (2018). Inclusive urban development in South Africa: What does it mean and how can it be measured? Working Paper 512. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  56. UNWTO. (2017). Urban tourism. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from
  57. Vandermey, A. (1984). Assessing the importance of urban tourism: Conceptual and measurement issues. Tourism Management, 5(2), 123–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Visser, G. (2003a). South African Tourism and its role in the perpetuation of an uneven tourism space economy. Africa Insight, 33(1/2), 116–123.Google Scholar
  59. Visser, G. (2003b). Gay men, tourism and urban space: reflections on Africa’s ‘gay capital’. Tourism Geographies, 5(2), 168–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Visser, G. (2003c). Gay men, leisure space and South African cities: the case of Cape Town. Geoforum, 34(1), 123–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Visser, G. (2014). Urban tourism and the de-gaying of Cape Town’s De Waterkant. Urban Forum, 25(4), 469–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Visser, G. (2016a). South African tourism geographies: Progress and prospects. South African Geographical Journal, 98(3), 428–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Visser, G, (2016b). Urban leisure and tourism-led redevelopment frontiers in central Cape Town since the 1990s. Tourism: An International Interdisciplinary Journal, 64(4), 397–408.Google Scholar
  64. Visser, G. (2019). Tourism and urban economic (re)development strategies in Southern cities. In D. Müller (Ed.), A research agenda for tourism geographies (pp. 107–116). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Visser, G. & Eastes, N. (2019, in press). South African guest houses: An analysis of its evolution in Stellenbosch. In J. M. Rogerson & G. Visser (Eds.), New research frontiers in South African tourism geography. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  66. Visser, G., & Kotze, N. (2008). The state and new-build gentrification in central Cape Town, South Africa. Urban Studies, 45(12), 2565–2593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Visser, G., & Van Huyssteen, K. (1997). Guest houses—New option for tourists in the Western Cape winelands. Acta Academica, 29(2), 106–137.Google Scholar
  68. Visser, G., & Van Huyssteen, K. (1999). Guest houses: The emergence of a new tourist accommodation type in the South African tourism industry. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 1(2), 155–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations