Topic: Tourism


Local government tourism represents the third sphere of public sector tourism. While national and provincial tourism organisations are chiefly responsible for the design and implementation of tourism strategies and national and international marketing campaigns, it is the lesser-known local government authorities that often shoulder the responsibility for promoting and supporting the local tourism products.

Although driven by the private sector, and firmly based in local communities and organisations, Local Government impacts on tourism products in how they manage their socio-economic environment and how they provide services to their communities. Local government also has significant impact not only the business environment but also on the natural and cultural resources in and around tourism destinations.

Local government also has a crucial role to play in providing leadership and the necessary planning to make sure that their communities and local businesses get the most out of tourism and to minimise any negative effects it might have. Just as a visitor’s holiday can be enhanced or spoiled by the behaviour of local residents, so too can residents have their lives enriched or degraded depending on how well managed tourism experiences are. This is highlighted in Local Governments role in contributing to 2010 World Cup success, where for example municipalities need to:

  • Ensure friendly and efficient traffic officers.
  • Provide efficient waste removal and management.
  • Issuing of vehicle license disks for tour operators.
  • Managing attractions such as sports stadium, convention centres, parks, events and other amenities.
  • Ensure that attractions in their areas, such as restaurants are clean and providing their services in a healthy environment.
  • Ensure that the use road signs function in helping tourists find their bearings and identify places of interest.
  • Provide updated and reliable information in marketing their local tourist attractions.
  • Assist in preventing crime and creating a safe environment.
  • Use the event to support meaningful economic activity such as encourage SMME accommodation and trading stalls.


As highlighted by Minister of Tourism, at the opening of the Local Government Tourism Conference in Sandton in 2013, 'local governments play an important role in the economic and social development of their communities. They must work with the various private and public stakeholders in the tourism sector to ensure that their communities derive maximum benefit. If tourism is to grow, we need a concerted, well-coordinated approach to manage it, which includes a well-managed approach to visitor servicing.'

In a joint effort, NDT, SALGA and DBSA drafted a Local Government Tourism Intervention Support and Capacitation Programme.

Key Issues

  • Limited understanding by National or Provincial with regards to Local Government tourism challenges.
  • Limited National or Provincial resources dedicated towards supporting local government tourism to ensure the appropriate oversight, investment and maintenance of infrastructure and services and capacity building programmes for tourism.
  • Limited access to national and provincial information for tourism planning such as access to local and regional trends (research).
  • Lack of partnership or collective approach to planning for tourism or destination management within Provinces and Municipalities, such as a review red tape around the signage; to provide clearer guidelines and expedite signage application and approval processes.
  • Limited input into how relevant legislation will support local tourism development, such as grading of establishments and standardized tariffs, but ensuring that in any responses the principle of differentiation needs to be included, especially for local government, otherwise the failure of “one-size” fits-all-policy making will continue.
  • Limited competence in tourism planning and support at a local level such as uniform regulations, e.g. rezoning costs and conditions.
  • Limited access to case studies and knowledge platforms to share and retrieve examples of good practice, such as guidelines, booklets etc to assist aspiring and emerging tourism product owners and to support transformation of the tourism industry.

Critical Success Factors

Local Government places high priority on encouraging and supporting Local Economic Development in particular, the tourism sector as it contributes to the social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of an area in the following ways:

  • Economic benefits from visitor spending in the area create employment and facilities, retail outlets, and services that the local population could not sustain on its own
  • Tourism can help revitalise small municipalities and create a sense of local identity and pride
  • Support for more vibrant and active business and local communities.
  • Attract events that give both residents and visitors the opportunity to celebrate and experience what is special and unique about their community. 
  • Promotes a brand provides an experience that will attract new investment and new residents, both locally and globally.

While the benefits of supporting tourism exist municipalities are also under increasing funding pressure. Simply meeting the costs of essential infrastructure and maintaining their resources is expensive. Together with all other competing socio-economic development priorities and tourism can start to seem like a discretionary activity.

Local Government recognises that it is only through the ongoing co-operation and collaboration between the various spheres of government to fully and effectively maximise value from the tourism sector and to achieve the National tourism aims and objectives.

Practical Knowledge

Title & Detailssort descending User Ranking Popularity
2nd LED Case Study: Lukhanji Local Municipality
Author(s): SA LED Network
Year: 2010
Format: Case Study
Average: 3 (4 votes)
BB-BEE Alignment with Provincial and Local Government Initiatives
Author(s): BM Mosupye
Year: 2009
Format: Training
No votes yet
Bringing local entrepreneurs into the supply chain: the experience of Spier
Author(s): Caroline Ashley, Gareth Haysom
Year: 2009
Format: Lessons learned
No votes yet

Theoretical Knowledge

Title & Detailssort descending User Ranking Popularity
A Reader for Local Government / Tourism in Preparation for the Local Government Tourism Conference in February 2013
Author(s): SALGA, National Department of Tourism and DBSA
Year: 2012
Format: Overview
No votes yet
Avitourism in South Africa - The DTI 2010
Author(s): Department: Trade and Industry (DTI)
Year: 2010
Format: Policy
No votes yet
City launches Transport for Cape Town
Year: 2012
Format: Article
No votes yet