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A model for the development of slow tourism in South Africa using the economic resources of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
The concept and knowledge of slow tourism within the context of South Africa is limited. Very little local literature is available on this new, emerging niche form of tourism. International research on this topic, including the practise, development, implementation and promotion of slow tourism, has grown during the last decade. This study investigates the meaning, understanding and definition of slow travel and tourism, and how slow tourism differs from other alternative tourism types. International and local case studies where slow tourism was implemented successfully, were assessed. Slow tourism is considered an antithesis to mass tourism. Tourism role-players and visitor groups have become more environmentally conscious in how they develop, promote and consume tourism products. Sustainable and responsible tourism practices are the forefront of the slow tourism phenomenon which induces the demand and the supply chain of tourism products emphasised by ethical values. Slow tourism focuses on the concept of time spent at the destination, liberating the visitor from the angst and stress brought about by today's fast-paced lifestyles. Attention is directed at the visitor experiencing a qualitative more than a quantitative experience, found in a unique nature-based setting with the after-effects of feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Slow tourism is centred on building good relationships with the local community, preservation of and an appreciation for the environment, and the production and consumption of local and responsibly-sourced products. Within this context, this study aims at developing a slow tourism model for South Africa, using the economic resources of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (KNBG). It investigates the literature of slow tourism at United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) protected sites, parks and at KNBG. Botanical gardens are considered a place of recreation and leisure, taking time out to relax and enjoy the open green spaces. Moreover, the dissertation points out the elements that are required to develop slow tourism at a destination and the role of tourism policies which set the framework for managing and growing tourism sustainably. A qualitative research methodology was employed to collect the primary data, using the grounded theory approach at KNBG, which was the study site. Qualitative data were obtained through observing visitors, in-depth interviews with visitors and KNBG management. The results and findings from the analysis indicate a shift towards people slowing down, the need to connect with nature to feel less stressed and finding value in slow tourism activities such as those found at KNBG. A slow tourism model was developed based on the literature review and findings of the primary data that was collected.