Answers to Global Questions from the International Competence Network of Tourism Research and Education (ICNT)
Residents’ perceptions regarding an urban national park in South Africa (Kruger, Van der Merwe, Saayman)
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Marinette Kruger, Peet van der Merwe and Melville Saayman
Residents’ Perceptions Regarding an Urban National Park in South Africa
One of South Africa’s most important role-players in wildlife-based tourism at present is South African National Parks (SANParks). SANParks is currently managing 21 national parks, each representing a unique biological diversity of biomes, plants and animal species and it is a major ecotourism attraction for local and foreign tourists, with 4.5 million tourists going through SANParks’ gates during the 2010/11 season (Stevens, personal communication). South African National Parks showed a steady increase of visitors from 3.6 million (2003/04 season) to 4.5 million (2010/11 season). When looking at these figures, it is clear that national parks in South Africa attract a large number of tourists each year (Stevens, personal communication). With this in mind, national parks have three distinct purposes. Firstly, the conservation of a representative sample of the biodiversity of the country; secondly, to provide a recreation outlet where the wonders of the parks can be experienced and enjoyed, and thirdly, to maintain a relationship of community uplifting and capacity building among people living in and around the parks (Saayman & Saayman, 2006). National parks therefore have to create an environment from which the communities can benefit while at the same time conserving the natural environment (Saayman, Van der Merwe, Saayman & Mouton, 2009). According to The Office of Environment and Heritage in New South Wales, there are different types...
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