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Vassar College

Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


This research focuses on the Cape Town Free Walking Tours and investigates the importance of the role that tour guides play in mediating space and heritage. Drawing upon literature surrounding tourism, the tourist city, as well as memory and heritage, this study uses a mixed methods approach, both surveying tour participants as well as interviewing tour guides and managers of the Cape Town Free Walking Tours. In addition, this research also draws from my own experience participating in walking tours and making notes through participant observation. This research shows that tourism spaces are created, curated and maintained through a performance of identities that serves to validate the tourist identity. It shows that it is a complex process of identity creation in relation to the search for authenticity. It also details the important role of the tour guide in mediating heritage and space as well as serving as an ambassador for their host society. Therefore, tour guides themselves are very important in the creation of space and place and can influence the type of tourist city that tourists are exposed to. This research has implications for further understanding the role of tourism in shaping a tourist city as well as the position of the tour guide in shaping the tourist city.


African Studies | Place and Environment | Tourism


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