A critical evaluation of tourism in Ximba, KwaZulu-Natal.
The recent incorporation of Ximba into a metro boundary (the Outer West substructure of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal) has highlighted the imbalances between rural and urban communities and created the need to redress them. Currently, the main issues facing the AmaXimba are economic generation and job creation. Solutions are possible through development of the industrial, residential, agricultural and/or tourism sectors. Recourse to analysis of the physical environment, as well as stakeholders and their interactions, informs the study and provides the means ofdetermining the best practical developmental option for Ximba. The suggestion is made that none ofthe sectors by themselves are viable and all must be developed in conjunction with each other. As there is a greater inherent tourism potential, the focus ofthe study shifts to the tourism milieu in Ximba. Tourism issues revolve around what type of tourism Ximba should develop as well as the best developmental pathway to pursue. Options open to Ximba include independent development, or development in conjunction with neighbouring areas. Thus, the focus ofthe study broadens to explore the wider tourism milieu in the Outer West, in particular the RI03 (Botha's Hill to Cato Ridge) route. The current status oftourism in the two areas is assessed as is the potential impact from future development projects and commonalities between the two areas are determined. Stakeholder visions provide the means for determining possible constraints to, and considerations for, tourism development. These include attempts to determine the current economic climate prevailing along the RI03; analysis ofthe crime situation and the media's influences thereon; and physical constraints, particularly water quality. Results indicate that a variable economic climate prevails, crime is a problem within the area and factors aggravating the crime perception are considered. Water quality ofthe Msunduzi is not suitable for recreational tourism. Issues raised for consideration included determining developmental routes that could be imposed on the Outer West from a higher authority, the requirements for nature-based tourism incorporating cultural tourism, tour operators' requirements, community characteristics and factors surrounding the bed and breakfast industry. Ideas for the development of a combined and expanded tourism route are provided. An analysis ofthe strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and 11 threats (SWOT) of the tourism milieu highlights factors to be concentrated on and suggestions are made for driving tourism in the combined XimbaIRI03 milieu. The study concludes by considering key factors necessary for devising tourism policy in Ximba, as well as possible means of implementation. Consideration is also given to tourism as an agent of change.