Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tourism in South Africa (from New Tripbod Jonah)

Tourism in South and Southern Africa is an incredibly important sector of the local economies here. The U.N. Millennium Development Goals identified and marketed the idea in South Africa that eight tourists equaled one job. With an unemployment rate around 40% (and the majority of those with jobs are informally employed), jobs are scarce and in demand. This problem was compounded by poor governmental planning and the massive influx of unskilled persons from sub-Saharan Africa who complete with the poorest South Africans for the most difficult and least paid positions. The government’s inability to deliver on wide ranging promises has forced it to find a scapegoat for its failure, the issues of race and immigration. Still South Africa has loads of potential and has the best infrastructure in Africa by far.

Note that in Southern Africa, patience is a virtue often lost on Westerners. If you turn sour, instead of being helped faster, you will be ignored. As for sustainable tourism, there are a number of options.

Outdoors adventure activities are plentiful and township tours should not be missed (there are many companies, it is important to choose a good one). There are many family run bed and breakfasts throughout the country, and now there are even some in the townships themselves.

Luxury items like petrol are not necessarily less expensive in South Africa, but necessities like food are discounted significantly. A few luxuries are cheaper however, such as gold, diamonds, and platinum; and best of all, none of them are covered in blood.

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