© 2018

Small Town Tourism in South Africa


  • First book to investigate tourism development in small towns using South Africa as case study

  • Uses unique case studies (e.g. Cittaslow, book town, town of the year winners) to illustrate the role of the elite in tourism development

  • Comprehensive review of small town tourism literature in South Africa


Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Ronnie Donaldson
    Pages 1-11
  3. Ronnie Donaldson
    Pages 87-117
  4. Ronnie Donaldson
    Pages 119-146
  5. Ronnie Donaldson
    Pages 147-171
  6. Ronnie Donaldson
    Pages 173-180

About this book


This book investigates small town tourism development in South Africa taking into account the most common strategies: branding, promotion, festivals and theming. The contents of the book resonate with the intersection of the power elite and their impacts on small town tourism. 

Because the book focuses on small town geographies in South Africa, the literature on small town tourism in the country is reviewed in Chapter 2 to provide a contextual background. Each subsequent chapter begins with an overview of international literature to give the conceptual context of the case studies each chapter explores.  In Chapter 3 the concept of small town tourism branding is illustrated by an exploration of the Richmond book town. In Chapter 4 the branding theme is probed further in an investigation of two winners of the Kwêla Town of the Year competition namely Fouriesburg and De Rust. Chapter 5 documents the branding of Sedgefield through its proclamation as Africa’s first Cittaslow (slow town), a process driven by the local power elite to the exclusion of town’s poor who have no understanding of the intentions of the Cittaslow movement and its potential benefits for the town. Chapter 6 is a case study of Greyton’s tourism-led rural gentrification by which a small town has transformed in three decades to become a sought after place of residence for elite inmigrants so making the town a jewel tourism destination while reinforcing racial segregation. Because festivals and events -  creations of the wealthy - have made significant financial contributions to small towns, Chapter 7 considers festivals and events as strategies to market and brand small towns in a particular way. Case studies of the economic impacts of festivals on small towns are assessed and the assessment methodologies used are critiqued. Chapter 8 provides a synthesis by drawing on the thesis of the urban growth machine by power elites.


small towns in South Africa Small Town Geographies Tourism Development Cittaslow Book Towns Small town branding Small town marketing Small town festivals South Africa's power elite South African tourism promotion

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Geography and Environmental StudiesStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa

About the authors

Ronnie Donaldson is Professor of Geography at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and Co-Director of the Tourism and Urban Research Unit. His field of specialization is urban development, urban social geography and tourism development.

Bibliographic information

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