2009 Karoo Tourism Conference Gariep Dam

Inter-provincial conference:

Creative Tourism in the Karoo
Implications for 2010 and beyond

Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State

5-6 November 2009
De Stijl Hotel, Gariep Dam

The Karoo Development Foundation, in partnership with the University of the Free State, offered our second Karoo Conference, as part of our Arid Areas Research Programme (www.aridareas.co.za).

The focus of the conference was on promoting tourism in the Karoo, Kalahari and Namaqualand – the challenge of developing and marketing a signature "Karoo brand", as a key desert tourism destination in the world.  The Karoo offers phenomenal richness:  Huge desert landscapes, mountain ranges, game reserves, working Karoo farms, charming villages, Karoo architecture, fossils, geological heritage, Khoisan artefacts, a vibrant rainbow of cultures, adventure tourism, arts, crafts, cuisine and much more ...

The diversity, sophistication and quality of accommodation and activities in the Karoo offer exceptional value.

This holds major implications for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.  Soccer fans will need to travel by road between host cities, such as Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Gauteng – through the Karoo, Kalahari and Namaqualand!  We have therefore highlighted 6 major Karoo Highways which need to be marketed for this keynote event.  The challenge is how to maximise the developmental spin-offs for Karoo communities.

But the Karoo straddles four provinces:  The Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State.  We need to learn to think, imagine, plan, and collaborate across provincial and even national boundaries.  Tourists are not interested in boundaries, and we can offer them a unique, sophisticated and pristine desert environment to come and find Space, Solitude, Serenity and Soul.  Like the Australian Outback, we need to appreciate our South African desert as an asset which requires co-operation across artificial political boundaries.

Our Conference was based on the following principles:

  1. Research and development have to be promoted hand-in-hand.  The research adds value to development, and development gives meaning to research.  Our conference provided academic presentations, but the ultimate value was in the developmental outcomes achieved.  We call this a "Scholarship of Engagement".
  1. At the conference, we created inter-provincial task teams on various themes to guide new ideas towards implementation.
  1. Tourism development is a key component of rural development, and regional development needs to focus on holistic economic and environmental regions.  Tourism promotion is a subset of regional development.
  1. We need partnerships between government, business and civil society.
  1. We need to engage stakeholders from national, provincial, district, local and community level.  Effective development requires intervention ranging from broad sectoral policies and regional strategies to municipal plans and community-level mobilisation.
  1. We need to link Heritage, Environment, Craft and Tourism, which will require inter-sectoral and inter-disciplinary thinking and practice.
  1. Given South Africa's economic divide between rich and poor, we need to promote the "second economy" as well as the "first economy".  We, therefore, have to include "pro-poor" interventions in Karoo tourism.

The Conference was aimed at the following sectors:

  1. National and provincial government: Tourism, Arts and Culture, Heritage, Economic Development, Environmental Management
  2. Municipal government
  3. Tourism product owners
  4. Tourism marketing agencies
  5. Special-interest organisations promoting rural development.


Atkinson, Doreen - How should the Karoo prepare for FIFA 2010? 556KB

Baillie, Giselle - Creative Tourism in the Karoo-Implications for 2010 and beyond. Purpose of the Workshop: promoting, planning, implementation and research293KB

Botes, Denys - Opportunities 121KB

Carbutt - Cape Craft and design institute - Growing and promoting Handmade [Cape]3.81MB

du Plessis L & Prof. P. Van der Merwe - The importance of hunting for tourism development 678KB

Hattingh, Johan - Boer war in the Karoo 768KB

Henning, Anita - The Role of Print Media in Marketing the Karoo 750KB

Ingle, Mark Preliminary findings from the Karoo Crafts study 188KB

Ingle, Mark - Towards blast-off: Space tourism in the Karoo? 611KB

Matebese, Prof Zachi - The windmill crafters of Cradock and Middelburg 150KB

Morris, David - Karoo Rock Engravings and other traces of KhoeSan history: conserving heritage, developing tourism 2.05MB

Mostert, Dr Jaco - The Karoo as Economic Region 429KB

Myles, Peter - Developing a Festival. Every town has something to celebrate! 348KB

Myles, Peter - Tourism Institutional Framework. A Model for the Establishment and Operation of District and Local Tourism Organizations 444KB

Phillips, Cheryl - Welcome to Cape Town and Western Cape 1.19MB

Rademeyer, Dr Cobus - The Karoo as Adventure Tourism / Extreme Sport Destination714KB

Rubidge, Bruce - The Karoo, a geological and palaeontological superlative: Economic potential of deep history 2.29MB

Samula, Bridget PhD - Development of regional Airports 265KB

Stauth, Dr Roy - What are Geoparks? 153KB

van der Walt, Dr Karel - PUM Netherlands senior experts 720KB

Wilby, Mark - Film in the Karoo and ‘finding Veronica’ 82KB

Agenda - Karoo Tourism and Heritage Conference

“The potential developmental impact of mega-events, such as FIFA 2010, on development in rural areas, needs to be examined and promoted.
Click here for a background paper on "The impact of mega-events on rural areas”.

Tourism can have pro-poor impacts, particularly if it is understood on a regional basis.  For an analysis of tourism in South Africa’s arid areas, please click