The tourism environment is becoming increasingly competitive, dynamic
and impacted by various global issues. Key factors such as changing consumer
preferences, the increasing involvement of host communities, safety
and health concerns, globalisation of the airline industry, technological innovation
and environmental pressures are changing the face of international tourism
and by implication are posing new challenges to tourism destinations in Africa.
Against this background, this article focuses on the changing shape and direction
of international tourism; Africa’s current and future tourism position and potential;
the key role of tourism in addressing Africa’s key challenges, including poverty
alleviation; and then proposes a sustainable destination competitiveness model
that can be used as a frame of reference to enhance Africa’s tourism competitiveness.
The competitiveness model that is proposed is based on an analysis of leading
international tourism destination development and marketing strategies so as to
determine key “best practice” trends and destination competitiveness success
indicators. Furthermore, key destination competitiveness models, including
recent models developed by Crouch & Ritchie (2000), Kim (2000) and Dwyer
(2001) were evaluated, and where appropriate, elements of these models were
also included in the proposed competitiveness model.
The longer-term benefits of the development and further refinement of this model
along with an associated set of indicators that enables identification of the relative
strengths and weaknesses of different tourism destinations, is that it could be
used by Governments and industry at large to increase tourism numbers, expenditure
and positive social, economic and environmental impacts.