Tourism in Africa - continental issues and regional contexts

Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong, Marina Novelli, Manuel Alector Ribeiro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


In recent times, the “Africa Rising” chorus is being heard across multiple socio-economic, political and cultural arenas. The tourism sector is one of such arenas in which much has been written about the promise, potential and pitfalls of tourism in transforming communities across the continent. Much of this “Africa Rising” related narratives within the tourism sector, however, tend to be written by those with only a passing knowledge of a vastly complex continent. Tourism, while a global phenomenon, is mediated by local specificities. There is an urgent need to pay attention to the nuances this entail instead of relying on unexamined categories and stereotypes. It is this commitment to nuance, specificity and local perspectives that has drawn the three editors together for this project. When the invitation came to develop this Routledge Handbook of Tourism in Africa, we enthusiastically signed up, as we envisaged the potential opportunities it represented – although we underestimated the challenges this would also pose. This Handbook of Tourism in Africa was conceived out of a commitment to a collaborative project that showcases critical research grounded in local thinking and nuance, the wisdom and empirically grounded writings, primarily by African academics and practitioners about Africa. We sought to make this Handbook a dialogue between academics and industry practitioners. Our attempt has been to allow those at the forefront of the day-to-day workings of the tourism sector on the African continent to provide the perspectives paramount to a critical study of the sector. We have endeavored to balk the trend of distinguishing North Africa from Sub Saharan by viewing the continent as a whole. Using the United Nations Geoscheme for Africa as a guide, we have included Chapters and InFocus sections from Eastern Africa, Middle Africa, Northern Africa, Southern Africa and Western Africa. Our ambition from the onset was to have a comprehensive representation of countries across the continent, especially countries that are poorly represented within the tourism literature. In the end, our ambition met with the reality of the availability of research and willingness of authors to contribute to this project. We believe that the results of our approach have been the assembly of Chapters and InFocus sections by a distinguished array of scholars in various stages of their academic careers and industry practitioners. We have made considerable efforts to have contributions from non-English speaking countries on the continent. We believe that the contributors to this Handbook have presented what collectively comes together as an extensive overview of some of the challenging, changing and innovative areas of tourism research and practice across the continent. The geographic spread of cases and topics covered in this Handbook is especially gratifying, as they are at the interface of academic research and the concerns of industry practitioners. We see our role in this regard as providing an avenue that stimulates further critical reflection on the dynamism and complexity of tourism on the continent by curating research which is representative of academics, practitioners and community members from as many walks of life possible. As with a book of this nature, there are many people who have to be acknowledged and thanked for their support. We would like to firstly thank all our contributors, both scholars and practitioners who have contributed a Chapter or an InFocus piece. We are immensely grateful for their willingness and commitment. Marina would like to acknowledge the critical eyes and inspirational presence of her two co-editors of this volume: Dr Adu-Ampong to whom she will be forever grateful for taking over the bulk of the editorial work at a rather difficult time of her life and Dr Ribeiro for working tirelessly to complete this collection. There are very special people which we encounter during our professional life and those two are undoubtedly a reflection of that. In addition to this, she would like acknowledge the importance of the continued support received by her family, friends and colleagues and the immense value of the inspiring encounters during her travel throughout the continent. Emmanuel would like to thank his fellow editors for the conviviality and discussions throughout this project; his children, Zoë, Joshua and Daniel for allowing their Papa the space to ‘work-from-home’ and for providing him respite through their “Buurman & Buurman” antics; and - above all - he would like to acknowledge the devoted and constant support of his wife, Marre, who makes it possible for him to maintain an academic life amidst family life. Alector would like to thank his fellow editors Marina and Emmanuel for their encouragement to embrace this project, ongoing camaraderie and their passion for studying tourism in Africa. He would also like to thank his parents Artur and Maria Antónia, for their continuous support and love. Finally, Alector would like to extend the most sincere gratitude to Montserrat for her extraordinary love and support throughout the years. We hope this Routledge Handbook of Tourism in Africa will be the first of many collections sharing what African tourism is all about. Despite the obvious challenges associated with the sector and the fast-evolving continental socio-economic context, we hope that some of the lesson learnt here may serve to make a better future for the continent. Marina Novelli, University of Brighton, UK Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong, Wageningen University, the Netherlands Manuel Alector Ribeiro, University of Surrey, UK
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Tourism in Africa
EditorsMarina Novelli, Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong, Manuel Alector Ribeiro
ISBN (Electronic)9781351022545
ISBN (Print)9781138496088
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • tourism
  • Africa


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