Tourism as an instrument of local development with particular reference to Port St. Johns in terms of the Wild Coast Spatial Development Initiative (WCSDI).
Despite the fact that the Wild Coast area is well endowed with natural resources, the area is severely underdeveloped and experiencing high levels of unemployment. It is against this background that the South African government has chosen tourism as an appropriate development instrument for Port St. Johns. The empirical evidence shows that coastal tourism development has produced benefits such as employment and income generation in countries like Kenya, which share the same development trends with the Eastern Cape. Thus, the Wild Coast Spatial Development Initiative (WCSDI) has been proposed as a vehicle to promote tourism development. The WCSDI aims at unlocking the inherent and under-utilised economic potential of certain specific spatial locations, like Port St. Johns. In this study a critical analysis of the tourism-related projects proposed for Port St. Johns is undertaken, making use of cost-benefit analysis techniques and drawing on projections made in the course of the WCSDI planning process. The study shows that these projects can lead to economic growth through attracting investment and creating employment opportunities. However, this study does not show the exact number of jobs created by this development, as most of these projects are still in the planning stage. Lessons should be drawn from the Kenyan Coastal Development Corridor case study, in order to ensure that the WCSDI is a success.