Mega-events such as the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games are promoted widely for the economic, tourism and social benefits they bring to host nations. The relative ‘benefit’ of such events has been widely debated. However, even when positive benefits are achieved they are vastly uneven within host nations. The Olympic Games are held in one city with occasional events located elsewhere, while the World Cup is usually held in several cities within one nation. The common denominator is that these events are focused on large urban centres, and this leaves rural areas behind and can heighten the development divide between haves and have nots, particularly in the areas of tourism and economic development. This is a particularly relevant issue for developing societies such as South Africa. This article critically examines the ‘development dreams’ promoted through the 2010 FIFA World Cup and similar events and contends that these dreams are illusory for millions of South Africans while economic and political elites embrace a global neo-liberal economic philosophy. In particular we argue that community-based tourism strategies that are important to a better distribution of wealth and democratic decision making in local communities across the country are put at greater risk by a mega-events strategy that is firmly centred within the global neo-liberal economic framework shaped largely outside of South Africa.
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||African Historical Review|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Jun 2010|
- South Africa tourism
- World Cup