Chapter 3: Tourism Principles and Practice

Chapter 3: Tourism Principles and Practice


3.1 Tourism Demand
3.1 Tourism Demand

Demand for the tourism product in South Africa as well as in KwaZulu-Natal has shown significant increases, particularly since 1994, although a slowdown in increases has been experienced since the turn of the century. From under 200 000 visitors in 1970, the numbers swelled to over one million overseas tourism arrivals in 1995 with even greater increases during 1997 and 1998. The decrease in overseas visitors for 2001 has been well-documented but the upsurge in travel and tourism began once more towards the end of 2001 and has continued throughout 2002 and into 2003.

South Africa's Annual Overseas Tourist Arrivals: 1979 - 2000:

1980 404391
1981 446112
1982 389155
1983 405414
1984 454880
1985 405597
1986 297060
1987 339307
1988 388102
1989 472076
1990 498712
1991 521257
1992 559913
1993 618508
1994 704630
1995 1071839
1996 1172394
1997 1273936
1998 1428401
1999 1491059
2000 1531720
2001 1502090
2002 1803887
Source: SA Tourism 2003

The present offerings are under substantial pressure from these increases and, for example, bedstock is having to undergo critical growth in order to cope. This, in part, is the reason for the unprecedented growth in the bed and breakfast industry. Presently in Durban, a number of new hotels have been, and are being, built, including the five star Hilton hotel, and several feasibility studies are underway to investigate the possibility of developing yet more hotels. These are likely to fall into the 3 star conference and convention market category, although the ones planned for the uShaka Island development and the ones to be built in connection with the Suncoast and Isibaya casinos are likely to be more upmarket.

Increasing demand for the tourism product is due to a variety of factors including increases in foreign arrivals, population increases within the country, and increasing disposable income and leisure time. The media have also played a part in increasing the numbers of people who have entered the tourism market.

3.1.1 Demand Measurement and Analysis

Measurement of demand is calculated in several ways. The occupancy rates of the present number of tourism beds available in an area are increased according to a range of accepted growth rates to provide high, medium and low growth rate scenarios. Thus, the point at which the demand for beds exceeds their supply can be calculated. This is also done according to the star rating of beds available so that the demand of a particular level of supply might be calculated even though the star rating system is not fully operational at present.

Analysis An analysis of tourism demand should take into account the volatile nature of tourism, particularly international tourism. Such tourists are quick to abandon a formerly popular destination because of threats to health or security - a lesson important to the South African, and specifically the KwaZulu-Natal industry (Lea, 1993). Trends in tourism, including tourism destinations, include changing demands for the type of tourism product required. As tourists become more sophisticated their requirements develop and change, as can be noted by the increasing numbers of people involved in adventure tourism and in specialised tourism throughout the world.

3.1.2 Demographic Influences

Demographic influences on the supply of the tourism product are also critical. South Africa has a notably high annual population growth rate of 2,2% (SSA, 2001) and this is increasing pressure on the tourism product of the country and of KwaZulu-Natal, as the most highly populated province, in particular.

3.1.3 Economic Influences

Changes in the economic environment on a global scale affect not only the numbers of people involved in the tourism industry, but also the type and duration of the holidays they take. With the economic situation which prevailed in South Africa during 2001, the reduced cost of the Rand added strongly to the positive side, making the country an attractive and relatively low-cost destination option for many international travellers. However, the effect is not the same for the domestic holidaymaker, the larger proportion of the market. The effect was critically negative, slowing growth in the domestic market. The economic situation underwent substantial change during the last quarter of 2001, during 2002 and into 2003 when the Rand showed remarkable recovery and strengthened notably. This was of some help to the domestic traveller and there has yet to be any negative effect on the international travel market to South Africa.

Salaries and wages throughout South Africa have increased substantially over the past decade such that disposable income, that money available for spending after all necessities have been paid for, has increased, or for many, become available for the first time. That, coupled with the increase in leisure time available to many - paid leave etc. - has encouraged an enormous sector of the previously non-engaged market to begin to take part in the industry. Access to the media, also a widely increasing phenomenon, has encouraged a consideration of travel and holidays amongst this sector of the domestic population. These benefits have to be weighed against the rising costs within the country which have had the effect of reducing domestic tourism, but it should be noted that the national economic situation has improved markedly over the past eighteen months.

3.1.4 Travel Propensity

The propensity for people to travel is influenced by a number of factors amongst the most important of which are economic climate, availability of travel options, access to information regarding travel options and destinations, and education regarding benefits of such travel. Sophisticated promotion of the tourism product can create a demand which did not previously exist. In part this involves the marketing of packaged tours but tourism promotion also means creating the image of a destination in the mind of the potential traveller.

In countries where there exists a high percentage of domestic travellers within the population, there also exist high and rising incomes, increased leisure time, good education and new and cheaper forms of transport. Such well- developed countries are usually also the suppliers of travellers to less developed countries. Examples of the important source countries are the UK, Germany and France.

The decision to travel goes through five sequential phases:

1) Travel desire: the initial period when a need to travel is felt and when the pros and cons are weighed up. 2) Information collection and evaluation: involves the process of finding out about the trip from travel agents, books, and acquaintances. Information is evaluated against cost and time constraints, alternative possibilities and other factors. 3) Travel decisions: covers the destination, way of travelling, accommodation, and activities involved. 4) Travel preparations and experience: involves tickets, bookings, travel money and documents, clothing and travel itself. 5) Travel satisfaction evaluation: the whole experience is constantly evaluated before, during and after completion and the results used to influence future decisions.

Opportunities to influence decision-making in destination countries are limited although an ability to do this could greatly increase tourist traffic.


3.2 Supply Dynamics
3.2.1 Sustainable Tourism

In view of the importance of ecotourism and the role this sector plays in the industry, the sustainability of associated resources is paramount. New legislation (see Chapter 7) promotes the necessity of Environmental Impact Assessments for any new tourism development project. It is believed that negative impacts from tourism on surrounding communities begin to be felt when over 30% of receipts from local business originate from tourists.

3.2.2 Carrying Capacity

The capacity for any area to absorb tourists without negative effects on the host area varies according to a multiplicity of factors. Environmentally sensitive areas and wilderness areas have a lower carrying capacity than do urban areas. This, however, is a controversial concept and not necessarily one which is generally accepted.

3.2.3 Environmental Impacts

The tourism industry has a range of effects on the environment. In order that the negative effects of tourism developments on the environment are kept to a minimum, Environmental Impact Assessments must be carried out on any large, new projects, and constant monitoring of environmental and other effects must be conducted.

3.2.4 Socio-Cultural and Economic Impacts

The economic impacts of the tourism industry tend to be positive in the locations where development is taking place. However, the same cannot be said, on the whole, for socio-cultural impacts with the one often occurring at the expense of the other.