Tourism is one of Africa's most promising sectors of development. This panel examines the impact of tourism on urban and rural communities, exploring how host contexts engage with the multi-faceted challenges posed by tourism. The perspective is covering from urban centres and the rural periphery.
Tourism is the fastest growing economic activity in the world and is one of Africa's most promising sectors of development, with international tourist arrivals forecasted to more than double its present numbers by 2030. Rural areas in the continent are often endowed with a rich plant and animal biodiversity and scenic natural beauty (mainly protected areas) that have the potential to attract international tourists. However, national parks and biosphere reserves are usually located far from urban centres and economically strong regions of a country. Tourism business is often organised in a way that operators in the urban centres get the lion's share of the income for transportation, accommodation and administration while the local communities in the rural tourist destination only get a small portion. In addition to high leakage of earning away from the host nations, devastation of the local natural environments, exploitation of indigenous workforce, lack of steady employment, corruption of local officials, social and cultural disruption, employment migration, marginality of urban populations in tourist areas and dislocation of rural communities remain major dilemmas faced by populations whose livelihood increasingly depend on encounters with tourists and tourism. This panel invites papers to examine the impact of tourism development on urban and rural communities from across Africa, exploring how Africans engage with the challenges posed by tourism. In analyzing these issues, panelists are also encouraged to explore how tourism can contribute towards fostering sustainable and inclusive development in urban and rural communities across Africa.