Impacts of Urban Tourism: A Case Study of Cape Town Introduction For many countries, tourism is regarded as a new activity. It is becoming one of the most crucial social and economic activities. The increase in the demand for urban tourism or tourism in cities has occurred over the last few decades (Paskeleva-Shapira, 2003). However, the literature on urban tourism is still relatively new (Tyler, Guerrier, and Robertson, 1998; Timur and Getz, 2008). Urbanisation is a global process.
It is defined by Johnston (1981, P. 363) as ‘a process by which: first, an increasing proportion of an area’s population become concentrated in its statistically defined urban places. ’ It is a vital force leading to ‘development of towns and cities, where people live, work and shop’ (Page, 1997: p. 112). Urban tourism development since the late 1970s has brought about an industrially based to an informational technology based (Page and Hall, 2003).
Through the process of urbanization places, tourism in urban environments has not contributed to a significant urban tourism development (Ashwood, 1992), however, urban tourism itself has yields both positive and negative impacts for the city and its population. Discussed in the paper is to understand both positive and negative impacts of urban tourism in terms of economic, socio-cultural as well as environmental that impacts Cape Town, one of the most rapidly growing cities in the Republic of South Africa.
Impacts of Urban Tourism: A Case Study of Cape Town [pic] The tourism of The Republic of South Africa has drastically been popular for foreign visitors. One of its most famous cities is Cape Town which is situated on the southwestern tip of continent and at an oceanic divide. The city is the capital of the Western Cape. It is voted fifth in the BBC television list of ‘fifty places to see before you die’ and was also voted as best African/Middle East destination (Pirie, 2007). The city is expected to become a principal destination for international tourists.
With the quality of its unexplored land, beautiful landscapes and oceans as well as its exotic people and animals, the uniqueness of the city attracts a numbers of tourists to come and visit the place. Inevitably, the growth in tourism contributes to urban areas impacts (Racine and Cosinschi, 1990, impson, 1999). Young (1973) claims that tourism could be viewed as a ‘blessing’ or a blight’ as the phenomenon does not only contribute to benefits but it also causes the city negative impacts (ibid). Generally, urban tourism could impact a city in three major aspects: economic, socio-cultural and environmental.
Discussed in the following part are both positive and negative impacts that are the consequences of urban tourism of the city Cape Town. The economic impacts of urban tourism on Cape Town Urban tourism has led to economic impact at two levels: macro or national level and micro or sub-national level (Dieke, 2003). At the macro level, tourism’s role cherishes economic growth through foreign exchange earnings and the increase of the state’s revenue (ibid). At the second level, micro or sub-national level, tourism leads to an increment of employment, income or revenue distribution and balanced regional development (ibid).
According to Cape Town, at the macro level, urban tourism generates increasing revenue to the city. As the consequence of the growth in urban tourism, foreign investment has been encouraged by the South African government. For instance, the government allows trade and industrial activities to be undertaken. This is reported that since 1994, foreign portfolio and direct investments that related to hospitality and tourism made into the country have increased considerably (Datamonitor, 2008), contributing to economic growth of the city. For instance, the country’s conomy increased by 4. 9 per cent and 4. 8 per cent in 2006 and 2007, respectively (ibid). It is also reported that the economic growth of the country is expected to grow between 4-5 per cent between 2008 and 2012 (Datamonitor, 2008). During the first half of 2008, it is stated that there has been a growth in employment. A sharp increase in tourism sector increased from 3. 3 per cent in the first quarter to 5 per cent at the end of the first half of 2008 (ibid). This also suggests a higher level of tourism and hospitality of the country.
And when there is more investment in the city, definitely, opportunities for service industry occurs, contributing to more employment opportunities and revenue distribution. Brennan (2004) state that the Land and Agriculture Policy Centre (LAPC) revealed that 5 percent of South African people were directly and indirectly employed in the sector of hospitality (ibid). In addition, at the beginning of the new millennium, the numbers of people employed would increase from 810,000 to 1,060,000 (ibid).
As a consequence of the growth in urban tourism of the city, hotels and tourist accommodation which are mushrooming in the city, business tourism such as design, media, and filming, publishing, arts and crafts are seen as the key business of the city (Pirie, 2007). Pirie (2007, P. 225) further states that in Cape Town, significant opportunities arise ‘in construction, niche accommodation, and car renting, coach transport, tour guiding, personalized touring, trip management, holiday planning, facilitation service and marketing . The city develops its ‘shoppertainment’ to attract more visitors (Pairie, 2007; P. 231). The location of the city is also known as the eight most creative cities in the world (ibid) moreover, it is shown that not only is employment created, but social upliftment as well as transformation and economic growth are seen as the fruits of urban tourism. Urban tourism also contributes to transportation improvement in the city. Cape Town’s modes of transportation such as railways, aircrafts, and it infrastructure are improved in order to support economic prosperity of the country.
This creates better quality of life for the locals of the city. Even though urban tourism brings about positive impacts to Cape Town, bad impacts are also caused. First of all, it is reported that as the result of the popularity of the urban tourism, Cape Town, one of the world’s small coastal cities, has almost 1 million international visitors annually (Pirie, 2007). This certainly leads to an increment in consumer product prices and real estates and can also affect on the distribution of benefits of the locals.
In addition, the increase in the prices of food and real estate could also lead to inflation of the country. It is found that though the urban tourism of the city is growing significantly, the poverty and inequalities in the society are high (ibid). And since there are numbers of visitors, this could also contribute to more responsibilities for city authority to maintain city’s infrastructure regularly. The socio-cultural impacts of urban tourism on Cape Town
Different from economic impacts which could be evaluated by financial and employment research, the impact on social and cultural aspects Murphy (1985) claims that tourism development in urban areas does not only affect on economic impacts but it also causes some ‘visible and intangible’ phenomena. In addition, tourism’s social and cultural effects are the ways in which tourism is leading to changes in the system of value, personal behavior, relationships of the family, community organizations, collective lifestyles, safety levels, moral conduct, traditional ceremonies and creative expressions. Fox,1977). In Cape Town, as the result of urban tourism, for positive socio-cultural impacts, the education of the people is improved. It is reported that since 1998, the population of the country has a literacy rate of 86. 4 per cent (Datamonitor, 2008). Furthermore, a number of schools established in order to teach English to the locals has also been increased (Pirie, 2007). Moreover, urban tourism can be applied as a way to promote the traditional ways of living of Cape Town people.
Local food and products as well as its traditions become of interest of visitors. This is reported by Pirie (2007) that some tourists are interested in engaging with the life of the locals, thus they lodge overnight and join cultural activities of the locals in order to learn the life of Cape Town people. However, urban tourism seems to bring about more negative impacts to the city rather than the positive ones. When the city becomes more commercial, this affects the pace of life of the people there.
The life pace of people in the area becomes quicker and because of this, some of the population may have to adapt to the new pace of life whereas other may withdraw from the situations that they feel uncomfortable (Page and Hall, 2003). Furthermore, when there are more job opportunities, this also means that there are more migrants moving in. Thus, the country is frequently referred to as the ‘Rainbow Nation’, suggesting multicultural diversity within the country. Multicultural could have an impact on the traditional way of living of the local’s people e. . native language, culture and tradition. This definitely affects the structure of age and sex in the city. Not only is the structure of age and sex in the city affected by the growth of urban tourism, the occupational structure transformation (Page and Hall, 2003) is also impacted. The impact could be seen from more demand for the skills of language and qualifications for managerial occupations and more emphasis on low-paid and unskilled labour for seasonal employment in hospitality business sectors (ibid).
The South African Institute of Race Relation reveals that more than 800,000 whites have immigrated to Cape Town as well as some other skilled black African people are found (Datamonitor, 2008). The migration inevitably impacts on socio-cultural level of the country. For instance, in the areas that people use native language which is not international language such as English or French, it is reported that the use of native language decreases (White, 1974). This is because in order to contact with tourists, international language is required.
Moreover, the numbers of migrants who come for employment have also affected the way people speak. And as the result of the transient population, according to cultural context, it is therefore difficult that stable social relationships could be developed. Apart from language, other cultural aspects e. g. architecture, history and heritages, music and arts, could be affected by the growth of urban tourism. Although urban revitalization could be promoted by urban culture exploitation, the local culture could be ‘com modified, packaged, and distorted’ because of mass tourist consumption (Page and Hall, 1993).
The most controversial aspect of socio-cultural impact of urban tourism is the change to the social and moral behavior of the host population such as the context of religion, crime, prostitution and gambling (Page and Hall, 2003). The most distinctive example of Cape Town is the change of people lifestyle related to urban tourism activities such as gay festivals. Since one of Cape Town’s well known festivals is gay festival, social and moral behavior of the locals is definitely affected. Urban tourism can also cause criminal problem.
It is shown that in 2005, thirty-three violent assaults were made on visitors (Pirie, 2007). In addition, muggings and snatching by vagrants, street children and criminals were reported (ibid). Apart from this, the crisis of HIV is another concern. As Cape Town is the host of gay festival, this leads to AIDS pandemic, affecting on the life expectancy of the people. It is revealed that the number of people dying out of AIDS each year has been increasing. For example, in 2008, 367,000 people die of AIDS and this number could reach 5. 5 million by 2015 (Datamonitor, 2008). The environmental impacts of urban tourism of Cape Town Hall and Lew (1998) posit that the impact on environment is becoming of significant interest to academics, particularly with regard to sustainability. Urban tourism can generate both positive and negative impacts on environment, depending on how its development is planned (Inskeep, 1991). For the positive impact, urban tourism is seen as a method to preserve important areas, archaeological and historic sites as well as architectural characters (ibid).
As attraction for tourism, the places are important as they are benefits of a country, thus they conservation is required. Without tourism, these places might be developed for other uses or could even be neglected. Furthermore, tourism contributes to an environmental quality improvement. All building designs, sign controls and better maintenance as well as the cleanliness of the place are important for tourist attractions. Besides, tourism helps enhance the environment as tourist facilities must be well-designed to replace lifeless and gloomy landscapes. Plus, it could also create sense of environmental awareness.
Except from this, as a benefit of urban tourism, it brings about an improvement in infrastructure of the city (Inskeep, 1991). Local infrastructure, such as airports, roads, systems of waste disposal and also telecommunications, which is fundamental facility, could be improved and this benefits not only the locals but also the visitors. Cape Town’s urban tourism helps fostering its environment. By reducing shack living place in the city and replacing architectural exoticism in order to create tourist’s first impression, the architectural touring of the city is preserved.
Heritage sites such as fine architectural places, eclectic collection of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Edwardian design commercial as well as government and residential buildings (Pirie, 2007) are well maintained. Furthermore, the city is also well known for its business in winery tourism. This does not only boost the economic system in the city but it also affects on its urban planning as the tourism associates with film production (ibid). The city is reputedly the fifth busiest film production venue in the world (Pirie, 2007) hence, it is important for the government to keep the city attractive.
Not only do the positive impacts that urban tourism yield, but it also causes negative effects to the city. Firstly, urban tourism could cause a lot of pollution problems such as architectural pollution which is due to the impact of the development of building on the traditional landscape (Page and Hall, 2003). When urban tourism becomes popular, the traditional landscape could be transformed. Additionally, water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution as well as visual pollution could be the result of urban tourism when there is a concentration of tourists and there is not sufficient disposal system.
Plus, waste disposal problem could be considered as another negative effect as it can be seen that littering of debris on the landscape has become a crucial environmental issue in many cities (Gilbert and Clarke, 1997). Inskeep (1991) also acknowledges that ecological disruption could be another result from urban tourism. Overuse of natural environments could lead to natural resources deterioration. Moreover, environmental hazards can also be created as the outcomes of inappropriate land planning, tourist facilities, engineering design which all of these could generate erosion, landslides, flooding or other environmental problems.
Besides, the damage to archaeological and historical sites could also be generated by urban tourism. Nonetheless, when the city is transformed and filled with aesthetic buildings, this also suggests that traditional landscape could be transformed and changed, thereby affected on the life of the locals. Furthermore, when the number of tourists increases, inevitable are the problem of pollution and the deterioration of natural resources. Noise, air, litter as well as visual pollution could be created.
Moreover, inappropriate buildings such as hotels, resorts or bungalows could also have a long term impact on environment as this might destroy the environment of the city or might lead to the problems of erosion, landslides or flooding. Conclusion and Recommendations It is important to understand the impact of tourism as it contributes to life, economy and environment of the city. Urban tourism could lead to both positive and negative impacts which can be divided into economic impact, socio-cultural impacts and environmental impacts.
The impact of tourism on urban destination is complex and is all related as exemplified by the case study of Cape Town. Therefore, in order to promote urban tourism, it is vital to plan and manage the tourism carefully as this could affect the city both directly and indirectly. For the city of Cape Town, what needs to be taken into consideration is the carrying capacity of the city in order to reduce the problems of urban tourism. The limitation of the number of visitors would help the city reduce socio-cultural, economical and environmental impacts.
In addition, in terms of environmental problems, the government could attempt to sustain the environmental attractions. For instance, heavy penalties for violators of rules and regulations of environment are introduced. This enables the city to earn substantial revenue and reduce environmental violations. Moreover, the government has co-operated with many organizations to inspect on environmental heritages. Bibliography Allen G. and BrennanF. (2004). Tourism in the New South Africa: Socail Resposibility and the Tourist Experience, I. B. Tauris, London.
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