Is small beautiful? Understanding the contribution of small businesses in township tourism to economic development
The increased importance attached by policy-makers to the anticipated developmental effects of tourism in developing countries has been insufficiently examined by academic researchers, particularly in the context of the contribution of small firms in urban areas. This deficiency is addressed by providing a review of existing research followed by an analysis of interviews with 90 tourism businesses located within and outside the townships of Langa and Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, South Africa. The findings reveal tensions between the different actors involved in township tourism. While the involvement of small, locally owned, businesses is beneficial, it is limited by conflicts of interest, lack of trust, limited social networks and little attachment to the township locality. The discussion highlights the complexity of tourism’s role in economic development, which has significant implications for local policy-makers.
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