Original Research

Explore changes in the aspects fundamental to the competitiveness of South Africa as a preferred tourist destination

Engelina du Plessis, Melville Saayman, Annari van der Merwe
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 20, No 1 | a1519 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v20i1.1519 | © 2017 Engelina du Plessis, Melville Saayman, Annari van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 December 2015 | Published: 24 March 2017

About the author(s)

Engelina du Plessis, Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society, School of Tourism Management, North-West University, South Africa
Melville Saayman, Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society, School of Tourism Management, North-West University, South Africa
Annari van der Merwe, Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society, School of Tourism Management, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Tourism is an evolving and changing industry, and keeping up with these changes requires an understanding of the forces and changes that shape this industry’s outcomes. Tourism managers struggle daily to stay ahead in the competition to attract more tourists to destinations. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the past could shed light on the advantages of the future.

Aim: The aim of this study was to do a temporal analysis of the competitiveness of South Africa as a tourism destination.

Setting: This research investigated the competitive position of South Africa as a tourism destination just after the 1994 elections and compared those results to the results of a similar study in 2014.

Methods: In this article, a frequency analysis revealed South Africa’s strengths and weaknesses, after which t-tests indicated the relationship between the strengths and weaknesses of the destination and the factors that contribute to South Africa’s competitiveness.

Results: South Africa’s strengths include the quality of the food and experience, scenery, variety of accommodation climate and geographical features. It is clear that respondents identified different attributes that contributed to the strengths of the destination in comparison with 2002, where the strengths were wildlife, scenery, cultural diversity, climate, value for money, variety of attractions and specific icons.

Conclusion: This research is valuable for South Africa because it informs tourism role players about what respondents perceive to be South Africa’s strengths. Role players can then form strategies that incorporate the strengths to create competitive advantage. This article also indicates the areas in which the country has grown in the past decade as well as indicating which weaknesses remain a problem.


Keywords

destination competitiveness; strengths; weaknesses; competitive advantage; comparative advantage; external influences; internal influences

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