Implications of Globalization on Sustainable Tourism Growth and Development in Sub- Saharan Africa

Thomas P.Z. Mpofu


Globalization is a phenomenon that has permeated and influenced the whole spectrum of human activities. One such
activity is the tourism industry. This is due primarily to tourism’s geographical scale; its spatial linkages, as well as
increased tourist flows to all corners of the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa. While the benefits that have accrued to
several countries of the world are well known, the impact of globalization on tourism growth and development to Sub-
Saharan Africa has not been thoroughly studied. The main objective of this paper, therefore, is to assess the extent to
which tourism globalization has benefited Sub-Saharan African countries. The study is based on secondary data sources.
The paper submits that some Sub-Saharan African countries have, through globalization, increased their revenues and
foreign currency earnings; created additional employment; introduced new technology in transport, communications
and e-commerce; and improved their tourism facilities and services to meet international standards. On the social and
environmental fronts, globalization has broadened people’s knowledge; created respect for indigenous cultures; contributed
to the protection and conservation of historical monuments as well as the physical environments. Some Sub-
Saharan countries have attracted multinational corporations through vertical and horizontal mergers, takeovers and
integrations. However, the paper also notes that tourism globalization has not been a panacea. It has also brought negative
impacts such as price increases in land values and basic commodities; financial leakages and repatriation of foreign
currency. Also, an influx of international tourists has led to a change in some African cultural values, resulting in local
communities losing their cohesion and commitment to family life, religion and traditional customs. On the basis of the
above findings, the paper recommends that Sub-Saharan African governments should closely monitor the negative impacts
of the globalization process while continuing to reap the many benefits that accrue from this phenomenon.

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