Mining and/or tourism development for job creation and sustainability

Although the tourism sector has greater potential for job creation than the mining sector, the debate on which sector may be more sustainable for employment and local social development, has not been extensively researched, especially in the global South. The popular tourist destination of Dullstroom, Mpumalanga has come under threat from an increase in the number of mining applications for coal (and diamonds). Despite opposition to mining from civil society due to the potential destruction of the natural environment and hence tourism job losses, mining applications are being approved by the ruling party in the country. Government and mining companies state that mining will contribute to much needed job creation and social development. Disparity thus exists between mining and tourism development frameworks for sustainable job creation. This research thus presents perspectives from key participants surrounding the sustainability of mining and/or tourism jobs in Dullstroom, including the benefits and challenges for job creation and sustainability offered by both sectors. Investigations reveal that mining should not be allowed in pristine areas such as Dullstroom’s wetlands, biodiversity and conservation and agricultural lands. Besides the short-term jobs offered by mining, the precautionary principle, as suggested in South African regulations, should apply against mining development since there are added threats of serious or irreversible environmental degradation which does not support sustainable tourism development and long-term jobs. However tourism in Dullstroom is also beset with challenges which need to be addressed if tourism is to contribute to sustainable employment for the majority of people.

Link to full article: Local Economy 31(1-3):249-263 – 2016

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