Tourism, Food, and Culture: Community-Based Tourism, Local Food, and Community Development in Mpondoland



Tourism is often seen as a tool for poverty alleviation and community development. This article highlights community-based tourism as a possible strategy for the development of poor communities. It further investigates how specific cultural contexts––in this case, that of rural Mpondoland, South Africa––can contribute to positive community-based tourism development outcomes. In this sense, the local culture is not seen as a tourist attraction but as a resource on which community-based tourism development can be built. The article locates community-based tourism within a more general strategy of diversifying rural livelihoods. Poor households in rural areas meet their needs through a combination of livelihood strategies and community-based tourism is seen as an additional means to meet household needs. In addition, local culture becomes a tourism resource using indigenous foods, arts, and crafts as tourism attractions. Food is one example of a local cultural resource that has the potential to facilitate a number of community benefits.