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Keywords:

  • Tourism;
  • multiplier effects;
  • Botswana;
  • Namibia;
  • South Africa;
  • poverty reduction

Abstract

Tourism in southern Africa is based on the region's wildlife and nature assets and is generally environmentally sustainable, but the extent to which it contributes to other aspects of sustainable development — overall income generation or poverty eradication — is less well explored. In this paper, we use social accounting matrices to compare the economic impacts of foreign tourism in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Overall impacts on GDP range from 6% (South Africa) to 9% (Namibia). However, South Africa's economy is more diversified than its neighbours' and more of the goods and services used by tourists and by the tourism industry are supplied domestically. Consequently, the impact per Rand spent is considerably larger for South Africa than for Botswana or Namibia. The poorer segments of the population appear to receive shares of tourism income that are smaller than their share of overall income in all three countries.