THE tourism industry, like sport, has been regarded as great contributor to race relations as not only does it provide cross cultural experiences, it gets people to share facilities, some of which were segregated in South Africa before, like beaches.
Racism is often defined as “a process by which individuals and groups stereotype members of another race on bases of possessing inherent characteristics”. (Airey, D. 2007).
In the past 10 years I have observed this in the form statements discouraging foreign tourists from visiting local townships describing them as “dangerous”.
Reading about the racist tweet by Penny Sparrow caused me to look at the age of our democracy and ask a question whether black and white people are just not getting along very well.
It is correct that, while many white South Africans value our democracy along with race integration and relations, a sizable number remain, those who wish to demonstrate that the rainbow nation that we call ourselves is a fantasy.
A national discourse on race in South Africa was propounded before. This year begins with many incidences pointing to a greater need for this.
We remain optimistic that the tourism industry, as global economic force, can contribute towards driving change for the benefit of the rainbow nation that helped unlock foreign tourism in 1994.
• Dumisani Mhlongo is Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism director.