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An Evaluation: The Major Contemporary Changes in the Sustainable Tourism of African Tourism and Hospitality Industry in 21st Century Research Proposal

An Evaluation: The Major Contemporary Changes in the Sustainable Tourism of African Tourism and Hospitality Industry in 21st Century




            The hospitality and tourism industry around the globe is continuously growing in the 21st century. This industry encompasses hotels and other accommodations, restaurants, fast food retail, bars, and catering. It has been characterised in recent decades by the development of an increasing range of highly segmented products and services. Basically, tourism is one of the fast evolving industries that contribute to the development of the society.  In this research paper, evaluations and investigations will be facilitated pertaining to the sustainable tourism practices and sustainable development within the countries in Africa.  Basically, tourism is characteristically considered as travelling for leisure, though this definition has been extended in recent years to consist of any travel outside of one's usual working or living area. As stated by Ashe J. (1999), sustainable tourism is very important because it brings profit into an area. If a country wants to grow, they need to find a source of capital. When a destination has something that attracts people they will spend money when they come to visit. For example, the country that has an incredible beach that just cries out for visitors and yet if there is no way to get to it because the roads are not built, then people will not come consistently. Countries in Africa are good tourist destination but if the government of these countries does not provide parking and food concessions, people will stay away. In addition, if Africa have a professional sports team in town but the seats of the arena are broken, the roof leaks, the paint is peeling, the food is stale, and there is no climate control people will not come. With this, it is evident that sustainable tourism in Africa are recognizing the need of the tourism and demonstrating a willingness to invest in whatever it takes to make it happen. From this consideration, this research study will consider the major changes brought by sustainable tourism to the hospitality and tourism industry in Africa.

Statement of the Problem

            It is obvious that the government of the countries in Africa are creating ways to improve the tourism of the country through the utilization of different marketing strategies (World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) (2001). For instance, this is clearly being exemplified by Africa’s decision to move electronically into ecommerce to promote the various sites and features the country can offer.  Despite of this changes, there are countries in Africa that continuously preserving their natural nature known as sustainable development instead of considering advanced infrastructures, systems and technology. Actually, the Africa’s competitive strengths in accordance to their tourism assets are: abundance, diversity, reliability and visibility of wildlife; unspoiled environment and beautiful scenery; low tourist density; safe destination; beaches; authenticity and the ‘unique African experience’ - real Africa and cultural experiences; and friendly people. From there, what is interesting to find out is how the African government utilizes sustainable development strategies to market or expose those positive traits. This will also “evaluate the major contemporary changes in the sustainable Tourism of African Tourism and Hospitality Industry in 21st Century.” Then, those changes should be analyzed and evaluated in terms of effectiveness and ineffectiveness.

Overview of Literature Review

            Tourism produces eight percent of all annual export earnings worldwide, making it the world’s largest industry (World Tourism Organization, 2000). It continues to grow at an average rate of seven percent annually. International tourism receipts including those generated by international fares amounted to an estimated 532 billion U.S. dollars in 1998, higher than any other trade category (WTO, 2000). According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) (2001), tourism is currently responsible for 8.2 percent of employment worldwide, and projections indicate that it will be responsible for indirectly producing 5.5 million jobs per year during the next decade.

            In African context, the two most visited countries are Zimbabwe and Kenya, while generally, other most visited countries in the continent are Tunisia, Morocco and Nigeria (Dieke, 2003). The Tanzania Tourism Master Plan (2002) stated that several strategies that countries in Africa need to incorporate are: Knowledge and ‘know-how’ strategy  or improving range and quality of information on customers, distribution channels, suppliers, etc; investment strategy or attracting direct foreign and local investment. Others are product strategy or expanding and improving the tourism product; infrastructure strategy or improving roads, utilities, etc; access strategy or improving air and ground access transport; human resource development strategy or improving skills and service standards; marketing and communications strategy or creating greater awareness in marketplace; capacity building strategy or strengthening tourism institutions; and security awareness strategy (p.68).  As part of the development in the 21st century, tourism marketing becomes prominent which actually different from all other types of marketing. One distinguishing fact about it is that the tourism market is fragmented and consists of many businesses for various domestic and foreign industries.  

And now in 21st century, sustainable tourism reacts to changes in environment as we observed in Africa. The tourism industry in Africa gives significant impact on the environment and local culture, while giving employment to locals, generate income and the conservation of local ecosystems and this is also justified in the paper of Eccles, G. (1995).  Eccles, G. (1995) also added that it is also conscientious tourism which is both ecologically and culturally sensitive. Sustainable tourism is useful as it allows the visitor to see what a single country or state what they have to offer with small impact to environment. By advertising for people to come and visit your homeland, it brings dollars as people purchase souvenirs to remember they were there. In accordance to sustainable development, the tourists can still come back and use again the preserved natural resources. What happens then, is the tourist wants more out of their visiting experience the next time around. Thus, bringing more demand and stay competitive with neighbouring nations. Hence, tourism brings more to a country, and in return it would bring more visitors causing changes and sustainable economic development in Africa.

Apparently, the hospitality and tourism industries serve millions of people from different parts of the globe and multibillion-dollar industries (Brymer, et al. 2005) and among the largest industries in the world. Tourism is certainly a vastly persuasive driver of national socio-economic development (Butler &Pearce, 1995). Most developing nations with a rich assortment of tourism features including natural resources, historical sites and cultural practices and so on are said to be hopeful on the potentialities of tourism in national income and economy generation as well as employment opportunities. Ghimire (2001) affirms the common perception on tourism as among the excellent ways of revitalizing and branching out national and regional economic base by means of creating new employment and income opportunities for immediate communities and at the same time as enhancing interpersonal contacts and regional cooperation in some cases. According to Holden (2003), tourism is not just the business of foreign environment destination but also an interaction of divergent societal factors. This is evident on the concurrent tourism initiatives and programmes of various countries and tourism-related institutions and organisations. Provided that tourism particularly worldwide tourism is placed on economic limelight, the issue of sustainability or sustainable development in tourism and its management become known seeing that there is a need and call for the protection of the environment and its underlying elements.

Sustainable development is a coined termed that basically characterised by living and doing business without destroying and endangering the potential interest of others and Mother Earth. There has been persistent debate on the actual and comprehensive definition of sustainable development or sustainability (Sofield 2003). Sofield states that a narrow yet inclusive definition of the term should be based on cultural, political, and economic impacts on communities.  However, it is contended in this paper that the terms ‘sustainable development’ or ‘sustainability’ are rooted on the United Nations Conference for Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) in 1992 with two important variables namely, development and protection of the environment. Sustainable development is not actually a new idea. It originated and rise from public’s and people’s consciousness because of the growing awareness on the increasing cases of companies and organisations that violate environmental protection policies and regulations. Sustainability within the hospitality and tourism industries was advocated in response to the negative images directed upon the impacts of mass tourism (Weedem 2002). It is a positive alternative and a necessary concept involve in tourism planning and development. Hall (2000) and Inskeep (1991) assert that sustainable development is a crucial element in planning and developing tourism initiatives and programs. Even if a significant number of tourism researchers and practitioners (i.e. Weaver 2001; Casado 1999; Manning and Dougherty 1995) assert that sustainable tourism is a “good thing” provided that there has to be a balance approach to protecting host cultures and environments, they argue that “sustainable tourism is effective only if it is, in fact, sustainable” (cited in Hawkes & Kwortnik 2006, p. 370). All businesses that operate in sustainable-tourism systems must be able to generate their needed economic resources to fully support their operations and growth. They can also cooperate with the government in designing policies for tourism and funding. With the unique attributes of the industry as well as tourists’ attention to authentic and natural travel experiences, Hillman (2001) poses the challenge community assessment and influence on demand. Sustainable development is relatively related to the issue of ethical conduct in the hospitality and tourism industries.

Actually, when we say sustainable development, people are thinking of the resources that they are using today and without sacrificing the future needs.  Thus, the call of sustainable tourism to generate income and preserving the environment is actually similar to the call of sustainable development i.e. to use the resources with recognition to the future needs. 

            However, there are also some issues in Africa’s sustainable tourism that violates the concept of sustainable development. And that is, some resorts did not respond to sustainable tourism properly, let say for example, in spite of many promises to avoid the mistakes of previous developments, the resort continuously alter the environment without preservation caution. Furthermore, most of the jobs that the tourist industry creates tend to be seasonal and fairly low-paying. Even in places like Las Vegas, which are seen as great success stories, wages are not particularly good (And no one would argue that Las Vegas is the epitome of sustainability). And turning an area into a tourist resort tends to split the local community. All in all, tourism is a long-term loser for all but a very few places (and most of those are cities with special attractions), in spite of its short term economic attraction. Thus, this practice is not conformable to sustainable development.

Aim and Objectives

            Although one of the ways this research will be run is through subjective interpretation, objectives are also needed as it will also utilize quantitative researched. For this research paper, the aim is to investigate and evaluate the changes occur in African tourism industry in accordance to their sustainability practices. The following objectives will be addressed in the study:

Ø  The extent to which current sustainable development practices affects the success or failure of African tourism industry.

Ø  The effects of current sustainable development have on African tourism compared to the last 10 years.

Ø  How sustainable development affects the success or failure of African’s tourism.

Ø  Findings in various literatures about the link between sustainable development and tourism.

Ø  The significance of linkage between African’s tourism and sustainable development.



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Brymer, RA, March, L, Palmer, M, and Schmidgall, RS (2005 August ) 'Cultural influences on ethical decisions of students enrolled in European hospitality programmes', Tourism and Hospitality Research, 5: 4, 346-357


Butler, R & Pearce, D (eds.) (1995) Change in Tourism: People, Places, Processes, Routledge, London.


Dierke, PUC (2003) Tourism in Africa’s economic development: policy and implications. Management Decision, 41(3), 287-295.


Eccles, G (1995) Marketing, sustainable development and international tourism. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 7 (7), 20-26


Ghimire, KB (2001) ‘Regional Tourism and South-South Economic Cooperation’, The Geographical Journal, 167: 2, 99-110


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