This study is about the Rural Tourism Development Strategy as a means to a co-ordinated, integrated and sustainable tourism in rural areas for the enhancement of the quality of life and tourist satisfaction. The empirical domain includes a critical analysis of the South African Tourism Strategy from a Rural Tourism perspective in comparison with International Renowned Rural Tourism Strategies. The research therefore adopts a comparative approach and is structures by pre-determined objectives.
Theoretical discussions and research survey have been employed to achieve the research aim and to answer the research question. The research examines the potential of Rural Tourism in the Limpopo Province, presents National and Provincial Tourism Strategies, the Australian Rural Tourism Strategy, rural tourism participants and key issues that are crucial for Rural Tourism success. The conceptual analysis concludes that Rural Tourism is an internationally recognised unique tourism brand and that the Limpopo Province is rich in rural tourism resources. However, the Province lacks a co-ordinated an integrated Rural Tourism Development Strategy.
Key issues and participants in rural tourism have been suggested. These issues from the guidelines for a Rural Tourism Development Strategy. The issues are: 1) Rural Product and Enterprise Development, 2) Accreditation and Industry standards, 3) Education and Training, 4) Marketing and Marketing Analysis, 5) Industry and Community leadership, 6) Transport and Infrastructure, 7) Provincial and Local government, 8) Policy and Support strategies. The proposed guidelines for a rural tourism development strategy are seen as a universal framework dependent on, and influenced by the context and environment in which the framework is applied. The proposed guidelines can contribute to tourism development in rural areas and enrich the personal rural touristsí satisfaction, contribute to the protection of both the cultural and natural tourism resources on which rural tourism depends, integrate nature-based and cultural tourism activities, stimulate sustainable resource use and spread tourism economic, social and environmental benefits to rural areas where it matters most.