INVESTIGATING THE POTENTIAL FOR JOB CREATION IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE
This article investigates the potential for tourism to favourably effect employment creation, particularly its ability to support other sectors of the economy. This article draws on South African and international examples to show how people, particularly those from underprivileged communities, can participate in and benefit from the tourism industry.
It also outlines a number of elements to examine in order to improve tourism development. These aspects include funding, developing infrastructure, education and training, clever taxation of the business, private and public partnerships,
ownership of land and natural resources, marketing techniques, and tourism industry change. Finally, this study discusses several unfavourable characteristics in the South African context that hinder the growth of the tourism business.
1. FORMAL INTRODUCTION
South Africa's low level of economic development and tight labour market structure make it difficult for the formal economy to absorb fresh labour force into the market. This quickly raises the unemployment rate. Unemployment was expected to be 38% in 1997. With the South African labour force rising at a rate of 2 -2.5% per year, this equates to 300 000 new entrants each year (Orkin 1999).
According to Pape (1999), employment in South Africa has decreased from 40 000 to around 22 000 in the textile industry alone since 1994. Because unemployment is the most serious social and economic crisis confronting South Africa, it is clear that job creation is critical.
South Africa's industrial industry is still undergoing reorganisation in order to compete on a global scale. Since the early 1960s, it has been shielded from foreign competition and has become less efficient. Because of trade liberalisation implemented in recent years, it is unlikely that its capacity to contribute to job creation would increase.
According to Pape (1999), manufacturing employment in South Africa will not rise much in the next ten years. A low fiscal deficit combined with the 3% target rule (and overshooting in the last two years) shows that the government lacks the capacity and will to become a significant driving force for employment creation.
The high expense of deep level mining, in particular, makes it difficult for this industry to lead in job generation. Visser (1999, 2) confirms that due to “the roller-coaster fluctuation in commodity prices shackling the global economy today,” both primary and secondary industries are no longer reliable in leading employment and economic growth.
Instead, a more mobile, educated, and nature-deprived populace implies significantly better prospects for tourism growth, particularly in eco- and cultural tourism.” Perhaps the service industry might provide a significant alternative in terms of job generation.
Despite the potential of the service industry, we must exercise caution because it encompasses a wide range of employment. Palma (1999) distinguishes between two categories of services and their significance in employment contribution. One is production-related services (such as finance, transportation, and technical education), which are declining,
whereas freestanding services (such as basic education, tourism, government services, and personal services) are growing, as is the possibility of their contribution to increased employment.
Manufacturing cannot be expected to be the primary driver of job development in South Africa. The issue for policymakers now is to focus on retaining existing jobs while also developing new ones.
The Mandela administration was heralded by a democratic election in 1994, which abolished the apartheid policy system of rule and, with it, political instability and sanctions against South Africa. This paved the path for tourism to become an alternative source of employment.
Tourism may now be recognised as a vital engine of job growth, wealth creation, and economic emancipation. Tourism is widely recognised as one of the world's fastest expanding businesses, and South Africa has developed as a very appealing destination due to its depth and range of tourism offerings.
According to Peter Hawthorne (1999), the momentous events of 1990 lifted South Africa out of political and economic isolation. This was successful in putting the country on the map of international travel and tourism. He claims that since 1994, the number of regional and international holiday tourists has climbed by 50% to more than 5 million each year.
Because tourism is the world's fastest expanding business, the goal of this research is to examine tourism as a potential source of job development in South Africa.