The human factor: tourism and development
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Given the substantial tourism resources of the continent and the rapid growth of tourism globally, African countries can be optimistic about the socio-economic transformative power of tourism as an industry. Africa has enormous resources for tourism, ranging from natural objects and heritage attractions, to cultural practices. Post-colonial African countries arc trying to use these to create viable industries for tourism and jump-start their underdeveloped economics. Despite Africa’s great endowments, tourism has not so far produced any socioeconomic development miracles. The argument that the global tourism windfall is passing Africa by, tends to focus on capital, entrepreneurship, knowledge, skills and policies at the expense of Human Factor (HF) qualities that give rise to deficiencies in tourism capital, entrepreneurship, labour force, and policies in African countries. It takes people who have acquired the necessary HF characteristics to create a sustainable tourism industry. To put this argument in perspective, it is important to survey Africa’s tourism resources, look at the global tourism growth, analyze tourism development efforts of selected African countries, relate them to the performance of their tourist industries, and highlight their neglect of HF qualities. The need to incorporate, cultivate and foster HF qualities into Africa’s tourism development processes will be emphasised throughout.