EuroEconomica, Vol 37, No 2 (2018)

Methodological Challenges in Assessing the Economic Impacts of Coastal and Marine Tourism in South Africa: Reflections from a Piloting Project

Urmilla Bob, Kamilla Swart, Harold Ngalawa, Ntokozo Nzimande


Coastal and Marine Tourism (CMT), as part of the oceans economy, offers significant development opportunities that can contribute to job creation and sustainability. However, there are limited national and international best practices to assess the economic impacts of CMT. The aim of this study was to reflect on experiences from a piloting exercise that was undertaken to inform the development of a framework to assess the economic contribution of CMT to South Africa’s tourism sector. Previous studies, focus on contextualising Operation Phakisa, examining CMT globally and in South Africa, and highlighting economic contributions identified in selected CMT case studies (including the economic models generally used). Drawing on the review of existing studies as well as discussions with key economic experts, a framework for a pilot study to assess the economic impacts of CMT in South Africa was developed. Supply (coastal and marine tourism business owners, accommodation establishments, tour operators and restaurants and retail outlets) and demand (clients/ tourists/ users) side data collection surveys were piloted. The reflections and experiences from the piloting reveal challenges such as the unwillingness of supply side stakeholders to participate, lack of access to locations to undertake research, inability to access databases with contact details of supply side stakeholders, lengthy surveys and quality of information in relation to specific questions. The implications of the piloting is that the Input-Output model and Tourism Satellite Account is the most appropriate economic approach for the South African context. The value of this article is that it is important to focus on demand side data collection and ensure streamlined data collection tools and processes.


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