Urban Tourism Under Apartheid: The Johannesburg Chapter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Urban tourism research is characteristically present-minded. Few studies on urban tourism adopt an historical perspective. The aim is to address a knowledge gap concerning urban tourism during the years of apartheid from 1948 to 1991 examining the case of Johannesburg. Using a chronological approach the analysis is structured in two parts. First, the changing visitor economy of Johannesburg is investigated for the period from 1948 to the time of democratic transition. It is shown that for international visitors the city’s core attractions related to gold mining, visits to view game, and to experience ‘Native’ mine dancing; for domestic visitors shopping and the night-time economy were significant. Following successive outbursts of political unrest and the imposition of international sanctions on South Africa in the 1980s city marketing reorients to the domestic traveller and in particular for supporting business tourism. The imprint of apartheid legislation upon the provision of accommodation services in Johannesburg is analysed in terms of the emergence of separate hotels for whites and ‘non-Whites’. The transition to a ‘modernized’ hotel industry in the city is traced including the shift to adopting international norms for the hospitality industry. Arguably, research on urban tourism under apartheid offers fertile territory for exploring the distinctiveness of past urban tourisms as well as of changing hotel geographies in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeoJournal Library
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameGeoJournal Library
ISSN (Print)0924-5499
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0072


  • Apartheid
  • Historical urban tourism
  • Johannesburg
  • Racialized spaces
  • Visitor economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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