Title page for ETD etd-05152010-231611

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Nelwamondo, Tshililo
URN etd-05152010-231611
Document Title Tourism development through strategic planning for non-metropolitan small to medium size accommodation facilities in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Degree PhD
Department Tourism Management
Advisor Name Title
Prof N F Alberts Supervisor
  • tourism development
  • Limpopo Province South Africa
Date 2010-04-22
Availability unrestricted
The study focused on formal and informal non-metropolitan small- to medium sized tourism accommodation (NSMTA) facilities in Limpopo, the challenges relating to their capacity and their potential role in tourism promotion and development in the province. The apparent lack of the use of strategic planning approaches to promote tourism development among NSMTA operators seemed to create three interrelated problems that were deemed necessary to address. First, the developmental problem where operators show no interest in developing their enterprises in a way that could advance provincial tourism growth or development; second, an absence of visible, co-ordinated effort on the part of relevant provincial tourism stakeholders to promote tourism development through strategic planning; and third, the noticeable gap between demand and supply.

The main aim of the study was to present a generic strategic plan that could be used to ensure that the accommodation sector would offer a prompt response to any change in tourism demand or supply as well as attending to the ongoing process of adjustment of services. Various approaches to data collection were adopted with the concurrent use of questionnaires and interviews to elicit objective responses being particularly valuable. Several interesting findings came to the fore.

The researcher identified a number of the NSMTA enterprises, which had gained strategic locational advantages because of their positioning in proximity to areas like the Kruger National Park, the Bela-Bela warm baths and mineral springs, the Bushveld countryside of the Waterberg and the scenic beauty of the Valley of the Olifants in the vicinity of Hoedspruit, that appeared to give accommodation operators a better chance of success. These locations generally exhibited characteristics that placed NSMTA facilities in relevant and viable settings in terms of convenience, to ultimately contribute to growth in the tourism industry. The long-accepted notion that the majority of small business owners in South Africa had lower socio-economic status was not supported in that many of the respondents were professional people and farmers who had other sources of income. In addition, the study’s findings regarding the development of informal enterprises is contrary to the general perception which assumes that ‘informal sectors develop spontaneously; it revealed that even the smallest of tourism accommodation operators did some kind of planning before the actual establishment of their operation.

According to the survey, the nature of formal business planning varied, depending on the type of operation. The less sophisticated, smaller accommodation establishments and tour businesses reflected a personal focus and commitment to the product rather than to selling the service offered. Furthermore, they were less inclined to formalise their business operation, ignoring grading status and interaction with other stakeholders. Single-handed management was common (60%).

Two thirds (68%) of the owners/managers who took part in the in-depth interviews justified their decision not to adopt a formal business plan. Uncertainties regarding forecasting business profitability and identifying market tendencies, made projecting future trends difficult. Respondents felt that formal business planning was too rigid for the increasingly dynamic nature of the industry. Other reasons were the sizes of enterprises, lack of time, knowledge and ambition to expand, because businesses were merely supplementary sources of family income not solely a business operation.

Tourism promotion efforts were inconsistent throughout all four tourism regions and within the accommodation enterprise categories. Variations were influenced by factors such as visitor demand, regional characteristics, and physical accessibility of the region, the business size the owners/manager’s motivation, management style and marketing strategies.

The research findings point to a number of key issues that create a gap between demand and supply. Contextual differences related to contrasting geographical environments, the nature and size of the tourism accommodation operation, its management and ownership structure, the personal characteristics and abilities of the owner/manager and understanding the socio-economic importance of the tourism business. Ultimately the study presents a generic strategic plan geared to reacting to change and the demand conditions in the tourism accommodation market. If implemented, its integrated and long-term approach could enhance tourism development at local, provincial and national levels.

© 2009 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Nelwamondo, T 2009 Tourism development through strategic planning for non-metropolitan small to medium size accommodation facilities in Limpopo Province, South Africa, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05152010-231611/ >


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