Interrogating Tourism As an Anti-Poverty Strategy in Middle and Low Income Countries of Africa

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: 311+312
Oral Presentation
Aretha ASAKITIKPI , Cultural and Literary Studies, Monash South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
This paper considers the proposal of tourism as an anti-poverty strategy used by various African countries to increase foreign revenue and create job opportunities for their citizens. The ability of tourism to attract foreign revenue into middle income countries in Africa is creatively projected through international mass media in the form of adverts and documentaries. The mass media, using picturesque scenes of nature, encourage foreigners to seek for leisure and entertainment away from their home countries. The philosophy that leisure costs money and must be invested, planned and saved for makes tourism a very attractive option for bringing in foreign revenue into Africa.

This paper interrogates this notion and questions just how effective it has been in eradicating/reducing poverty in middle income or even low income countries in Africa. The paper considers inequalities that arise due to tourism in the creation of fantasy scenes and relaxation spots that separate the tourist from the realities of the host country. The economic condition of the host countries means that majority of its citizens cannot afford the leisure and educational benefits their land offers. The paper analyzes the organizational structure of tourism and argues that, as with other foreign investments in Africa, the exploitation of the economy, land and people brings to the front burner, questions of inequalities and oppression in the continent. The question projected is how much of the revenue that accrues from tourism goes into alleviating the poverty level of the population within and around the tourist site. Secondly, how much of the accrued revenue does the government of the host country actually use in developing the country’s physical infrastructure, man power, economic advancement, and national growth as a whole. It concludes by suggesting the development of blueprints for tourism that would ensure poverty alleviation, sustainability and national development.