Impact of COVID-19 on small community-based tourism businesses: diversification of opportunities and threats in modern Africa

Economic Annals-ХХI: Volume 192, Issue 7-8(2), Pages: 177-187

Citation information:
Mtapuri, O., Giampiccoli, A., & Jugmohan, S. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 on small community-based tourism businesses: diversification of opportunities and threats in modern Africa. Economic Annals-XXI, 192(7-8(2)), 177-187. doi:

Oliver Mtapuri
PhD (Development Studies),
Associate Professor,
University of KwaZulu Natal,
School of Built Environment and Development Studies,
College of Humanities,
Howard College
Private Bag X54001, Durban, 4000, South Africa ;

Andrea Giampiccoli
PhD (Geography),
Research Fellow,
Department of Hospitality and Tourism,
Durban University of Technology
PO Box 1334, Durban, 4000, South Africa

Sean Jugmohan
PhD (Tourism Management),
Acting (HOD) Business Studies Unit,
Faculty of Management Sciences,
Durban University of Technology
PO Box 1334, Durban, 4000, South Africa

Impact of COVID-19 on small community-based tourism businesses: diversification of opportunities and threats in modern Africa

Abstract. The article unpacks the pathways through which community-based tourism ventures can diversify. We argue that diversification can involve products, services and markets and it can take place at a geographic level (macro), community level (meso) and enterprise (micro) levels. This hierarchisation provides possibilities for diversification. The outbreak of COVID-19 has encumbered the growth and viability of tourism enterprises but may open new pathways through which firms can respond to its negative effects. Using secondary information available in extant literature, the article unpacks the impact of COVID-19 on four African countries to analyse the impacts and the mitigatory interventions that were implemented.

The conducted study found out that Small Micro and Medium Enterprises were hard hit by the Corona virus such that jobs and incomes were lost with the possibility that some may firms may never open again given the inability to trade during lockdowns imposed by governments in response to the pandemic and inability to pay rent and debt. In response, governments established relief funds to assist firms to cope with the pandemic.

We consider that enterprises can diversify and innovate as a copying mechanism with diversification taking the form of differentiation of the product offerings – by combining say carpet weaving and silkworm harvesting with marketing being done at community level. In sum, diversification is important for risk aversion and wading off competition.

Keywords: Tourism; Community-Based Tourism; Diversification; Marketing; Africa

JEL Classification: L83

Acknowledgements and Funding: One of the authors received funding from the Department of Science and Innovation and National Research Foundation-funded South African Research Chair (SARCHi) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the National Research Foundation or its management or governance structures.

Contribution: The author contributed equally to this work.

Data Availability Statement: No primary data were collected for use in this article. It is a review article. All data used is publicly available and referenced appropriately in this text.



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Received 9.04.2020
Received in revised form 23.09.2020
Accepted 26.10.2020
Available online 21.09.2021