Transformation in South African Tourism: A Geographical Perspective on the Eastern Cape

Christian M. Rogerson, Zinzi Sixaba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the international scholarship about tourism small firms the most distinguishing feature of South Africa relates to transformation debates. This article represents a contribution to the vibrant literature around small tourism firms and change in the global South by analysing the geographies of transformation in one South African province, the Eastern Cape. An historical approach is applied to understand the spatial patterns of transformation as mapped in patterns of ownership of Black small-scale accommodation enterprises. The historical approach shows that different regulatory regimes regarding Black entrepreneurs and their involvement in South African tourism have existed at different times and especially under the influence of apartheid legislation and following democratic change. The formative period of Eastern Cape tourism during the first half of the 20th century witnessed the establishment of a tourism economy dominated by White entrepreneurs and most especially in the coastal areas. The apartheid period, however, allowed a small window of opportunity for Black entrepreneurs to establish tourism businesses in the former ‘reserves’ which would become the Homelands. It is shown that the former Homelands areas are currently the most advanced transformation spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1610-1629
Number of pages20
JournalAfrican Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Eastern cape
  • Small tourism firms
  • South africa
  • Tourism policy
  • Transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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