Do Durban and Cape Town have “too many” tourists?

 ·7 Jan 2018

The World Travel and Tourisim Council (WTTC) has released a new report on the effects of overcrowding across the world’s major tourism destinations.

The findings were based on an analysis of tourism data as well as research on specific destinations and dozens of interviews with tour operators, tourism authorities, hospitality providers, airlines, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics, and think tanks.

The report found that the problems associated with overcrowding can vary, but include factors such as alienating local residents, overlooking local tourists in favour of international ones, and overloading infrastructure in cities, and individual sites, such as parks, beaches, and museums.

The aim of the report was not to create a scale of good to bad, but rather to gauge the risk of experiencing a given overcrowding problem.

Cape Town vs Durban

Two South African cities featured on the list, Cape Town and Durban, with tourism considered to be vitally important to both cities. However the report found that there was a stark difference in how the cities were dealing with overcrowding.

Cape Town scored relatively highly across the board with only overloaded infrastructure a slight concern due to seasonal tourist arrivals. In other categories including “tourism density”, “negative TripAdvisor reviews”, and the amount of historical attractions available, the city scored the highest possible marks.

For Durban, the report found that the city had a harder time dealing with overcrowding. In particular it cited “attraction concentration” as one of its’s main problems – likely due to the focus of activities on Durban’s main beachfront and uShaka Marine World.

Durban also scored highly on the number of negative TripAdvisor reviews it received. This score was based on data captured from TripAdvisor’s top 10 attractions in the destination as of July 2017, measuring the magnitude of negative sentiment in visitors’ experiences.

Areas that Durban scored highly in include “tourism intensity” (calculated as 2016 arrivals divided by the population in the destination), and unlike Cape Town it was not heavily affected by seasonal arrivals due to the fact that tourists tend to visit the city all year round.

Read: What expats love – and don’t love – about living in South Africa

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