OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

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Leveraging tourism development for sustainable and inclusive growth in South Africa

South Africa has turned towards tourism development to jump-start its weak economy. As tourism is a labour intensive sector that can also bring foreign currency into the country, the sector was identified as priority area by the South African government. Indeed, a doubling in international tourist arrivals from 1995 to 2017 was accompanied by a tripling of employment directly related to tourism. Despite South Africa’s rich and diverse natural and cultural assets, tourism development has been challenged by the country’s geographic location and perceived safety and security issues. As the country is a long-haul destination for many large source markets, good accessibility and international openness is key to expand international tourism, but current visa regulations put an administrative burden on potential tourists. While increasing tourist arrivals are necessary for tourism development, tourism growth has to be well planned and managed to be sustainable. Although the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting containment measures have hit the economy and in particular tourism, the sector has good potential to support the South African economy and contribute to employment growth post-COVID-19. Tourism provides job opportunities for different skills and experience levels allowing for greater social integration. For tourism development to translate into inclusive growth, the tourism industry needs to be integrated into the local economy and the benefits of tourism must spread geographically to also create economic opportunities in less travelled and less prosperous regions.


Keywords: Regional development, Tourism Development, Tourism Policy, South Africa, Sustainable, Tourism Economics
JEL: Z30: Other Special Topics / Tourism Economics / Tourism Economics: General; Z33: Other Special Topics / Tourism Economics / Tourism: Marketing and Finance; L38: Industrial Organization / Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise / Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise: Public Policy; Z38: Other Special Topics / Tourism Economics / Tourism: Policy; Z31: Other Special Topics / Tourism Economics / Tourism: Industry Studies; Z32: Other Special Topics / Tourism Economics / Tourism and Development
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