Township tourism demand: tourists’ perceptions of safety and security

Richard George, Irma Booyens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Township tourism has emerged as an important part of the urban tourism product in post-1994 South Africa. Approximately, 25 % of all international tourists visiting Cape Town participate in township tours. However, in recent years, doubts about personal safety have cast a negative light on the township tourism offering. Consideration regarding tourist safety and security, therefore, is important since it may have implications for the future growth and development of this market. The aim of this study was to investigate tourists’ perceptions of safety and security whilst on a township tour. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 317 tourists who participated in township tours in the Greater Cape Town area. The study found that the majority (73 %) of respondents felt safe whilst on a township tour. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed were satisfied with the township tour that they went on, whilst 82 % of respondents said that they would recommend a township tour. This paper argues that there is a latent demand for culture-led, experience-based township tourism product development to create more opportunities for entrepreneurship and local economic development. Further recommendations for policymakers and tour operators are also provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-467
Number of pages19
JournalUrban Forum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • visitor demand
  • tourist perceptions
  • safety and security
  • poverty tourism
  • Cape Town
  • urban tourism


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