Tourism destination competitiveness
In order for the urban-rural tourism mix between the city of Pretoria and Soshanguve township to be sustainable, it has to be competitive. Porter (1980) defines competitiveness as the ability of an organization to stay in business, protect its investments, benefit from those investments and sustain jobs in the long run. Jonker (2005) points out that at the macro level, the competiveness of national governments is measured in terms of how their social, cultural and economic variables or resources perform in international markets with the ultimate objective being the real incomes of their citizens. Since 1979, the factors identified in Porter’s competitive advantage model constitute the basis for the global competiveness report compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF) (Keyser, 2009).
Tourism research has demonstrated keen interest in the application of competitiveness theory to tourism in general, and destinations in particular (Keyser, 2009). Ritchie and Crouch (2003) define destination competitiveness as the ability to manage tourism assets, processes, attractiveness and proximity in such a way that these are included in the destination’s economic and social model in order to create value and increase wealth. Hassan (2000) further states that for a destination to remain competitive, it must sustain the resources being used and equally retain its position in the marketplace relative to its competitors. However, D’Hauteserre (2000) indicates that beyond retaining their position in the marketplace, competitive destinations should improve their market share over time.
The World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (2008, p. 38) proposes three categories for the assessment of various national destinations: regulatory frameworks; business and environment frameworks; and human, cultural and natural resources, as these elements drive the tourism industry. This chapter specifically looks at the natural and cultural resources through an assessment of visitor activities and preferences as a baseline to determine the appropriateness of tourism for Soshanguve Township, in partnership with the larger urban destination of Pretoria. As a first step to assess the viability of tourism, this chapter recognizes that further assessments of the other aspects of the Competitive Index are warranted.