In many countries, tourism research is advanced in terms of institutional coordination and continuous provision of reliable and acceptable research information in the sector. In South Africa, however, there are a number of limitations with regard to tourism research and information. The 2020 National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) recognises research as one of the key success factors for sustainable competitiveness in destination management and emphasises the important role research plays to guide planning and decision making. The strategy highlights the need to build partnerships and collaboration in order to strengthen the context, use and dissemination of research findings to inform policy and decision making. It is on this basis that since 2012 the Department of Tourism (the Department) strive to collaborate with institutions of higher learning and research councils through Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to conduct tourism research.
To date, the collaboration with universities enabled the Department working with the Research Policy Expert Forum to produce quality research outputs including research reports, frameworks, model as well as research articles in some research studies.
As part of the dissemination platforms, research seminars are held annually to share the research findings and obtain constructive feedback from a wide range of tourism stakeholders and ultimately address their need. The research seminar further provides an opportunity for students who receive financial support from the Department through the MoUs with the universities, to exhibit and showcase their research work and obtain valuable feedback from sector stakeholders.
Outside the research collaboration, the Department further developed a Sector Research Agenda which serves as a framework to guide both current and future tourism research priorities in the sector. Research Agenda outlines the list of research themes and research studies for any tourism researcher who might be interested to take up the tourism related studies in order to fill the research gaps and avoid duplication of research efforts and wastage of financial and non-financial resources.
The above information provides a background about the research projects undertaken by the Department. Further details on the above mentioned research projects and outputs can be accessed on this knowledge portal within the research page.