Creative tourism: South African township explorations

Irma Booyens, Christian M. Rogerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This purpose of this paper is to explore creative forms of tourism in South African townships. The developmental potential of slum tourism is contested. One challenge is to reconfigure extant forms of slum tourism into more sustainable alternatives that emphasise combatting poverty through generating economic opportunities and upgrading slum spaces. It is argued that creative tourism has a vital potential role in reshaping slum tourism in a responsible manner. Design/methodology/approach: This exploratory investigation identifies emerging examples of creative forms of tourism in two case study townships: Soweto in Johannesburg and Langa in Cape Town. Current examples and potential for future development are interrogated, and areas for further research are outlined. Findings: Emerging examples of creative tourism in townships with an emphasis on creative participatory experiences, creative spaces and creative cultural events are identified. It is suggested that creative tourism offerings based on cultural resources are under-developed, and potential exists for innovating and expanding creative tourism offerings in townships as a response to latent international and domestic visitor demands. Social implications: Creative township tourism provides a number of avenues for catalysing economic opportunities; ensuring that locals benefit directly, upgrading physical township spaces and offering alternatives to voyeuristic forms of slum tourism by enhancing the authenticity of visitor experiences. Originality/value: A new perspective on slum tourism is offered. Creative slum tourism has not been interrogated in the existing slum tourism and creative tourism literatures. This paper calls for more comprehensive empirical investigation on creative forms of tourism in townships and also in slums.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalTourism Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019


  • Creative experiences
  • Creative precincts
  • Creative slum tourism
  • Economic opportunities
  • Township tourism
  • Township upgrading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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