Tourism in South Africa’s borderland regions: A spatial view

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Borderlands tourism is attracting a growing international scholarship in particular in Europe and North America. This paper adopts a spatial view in order to pursue an exploratory analysis of the geography of tourism in South Africa‟s borderlands regions. The specific focus is upon understanding the growth and structure of tourism in those South Africa‟s metropolitan and district municipalities which adjoin the surrounding six countries of Southern Africa. Key results are that borderland spaces are a growing component of South Africa‟s tourism economy, albeit there is the spatial unevenness of borderlands tourism. The major anchors for borderlands tourism in South Africa are VFR travel, nature-based leisure tourism founded on iconic wildlife assets, and religious tourism. Although short-distance cross-border shopping tourism is in evidence it is far less significant than for borderland tourism in North America or Europe. The study opens up further research questions about tourism in South Africa‟s borderlands in particular concerning the varying structure of tourism in particular spaces and of the specific geographies of different kinds of borderlands tourism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-188
Number of pages14
JournalGeojournal of Tourism and Geosites
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Borderlands tourism
  • Nature-based tourism
  • South Africa
  • Spatial distribution
  • VFR travel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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