The Free State Roots of International Tourism Research


Ingle, M (2006), “The Free State Roots of International Tourism Research: The Case of Prof AJ Norval”, in South African Geographical Journal, vol. 88, no. 1, pp. 79-87.


Research linking South Africa’s tourism industry with development is generally reckoned to be a fairly recent phenomenon. In the mid-1930s, however, two seminal works were published in the United Kingdom which sought to highlight the economic potentialities of tourism and to differentiate it as a topic worthy of study in its own right. One of these studies was a doctoral thesis entitled The Tourist industry: a national and international survey by a South African economics professor, Arthur Norval. Although it was published to critical acclaim it appears, with the passage of time, to have sunk into oblivion. Norval was schooled in the Free State and graduated as an attorney from the then Grey University College in Bloemfontein. Tourist industry is a prescient work which anticipates a number of the themes which have come to inform contemporary tourism research. This article details many of these points of connection and contends that the history of tourism research stands to gain considerably from Norval’s pioneering study being recovered from obscurity.

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