Tourism and the economic challenges of Mahikeng: a residents' perspective
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Tourism, once it secured high-level deliberation, can be a mechanism of growth driving economic prosperity. The South African government maintains tourism's status as key strategic area and devised the National Tourism Sector Strategy aimed at increasing domestic tourism. Mahikeng is the provincial capital city and seat of the North West government who also proclaimed tourism as a strategic area for development. However, very little is known about Mahikeng's almost non-existing tourism industry and its developmental potential as contributor to the alleviation of the economic challenges faced by local stakeholders. A major stakeholder for generating the economic value of tourism is the active involvement of the local community, and the focus of this study is on residents. A synthesis of industry occurrences and literature led to the conceptualization of this study. A qualitative descriptive survey was undertaken and 303 residents participated in this survey to obtain an impression of residents' perspective of tourism and its development. Residents expressed that they are not really aware of tourism facilities (43%) but conveyed that support for tourism development is vital for success (74%). An overwhelming percentage of respondents, 80%, strongly agreed that they indeed would patronage the development of tourism, and this should spur public and private stakeholders to consider tourism as a means of addressing the economic challenges of Mahikeng.