On the 25th and 26th of August TREES hosted the the 5th Quantitative Approaches in Tourism Economics and Management workshop in Potchefstroom. It is a bi-annual workshop that has traveled from France to Japan and finally to South Africa. The focus is on the latest empirical techniques applied to the field of tourism. For example, Sylvain Petit examined cultural proximity (with and interesting measure of cultural exports) and bilateral tourism flows between OECD countries, using a gravity model. Laurent Botti used a Markovich model from portfolio management to analyse the optimal market mix of French tourism destinations. Our very own Sandra Makumbirofa presented the results of her field experiment to assess divers’ willingness to pay user fees in the Portofino Marine Protected Area.
Yesterday we had the privilege of hosting Channing Arndt of UNU-WIDER at our seminar series. He spoke on the topic of structural change of the South African economy and used mini Social Accounting Matrices constructed for the period 1993 to 2013 to have a closer look at changes in productivity.
He outlined the familiar facts of slow economic growth and a low rate of employment growth over the period – since 2008 these growth rates have been even lower. Linking this to productivity, he characterised the sectors as follows.
We had an interesting discussion on the exports of services and the growth in the skilled wage premium.
On 22 August 2016 Derick Blaauw & Anmar Pretorius met with Ms Crystal Beukes and colleagues from Men on the side of the road (MSR) in Windhoek, Namibia as part of an ongoing NRF-funded research project among informally employed day labourers in South Africa. Namibia has an unemployment rate of around 36%. MSR is an initiative to combat this state of affairs and was established in 2007 by the Dutch Reformed Church Eros. It is a registered welfare and non-profit organisation in Windhoek that aims to improve the skills of Namibian men as well as to prepare them for the job market. Unemployed men are invited to register on MSR’s database. Opportunities exist to take part in the training and placement program for its members. Opportunities include training in for example career guidance, English literacy, money management and entrepreneurship. Ultimately the aim is for members to increase the possibility of getting a permanent job placement. MSR has approximately 1 000 unemployed men on its database. Members get Identity cards listing the skills they have. If a member of the public needs any unskilled or semi-skilled workers they can contact MSR who then aims to put them in touch with suitable workers
The program is supported by the private sector and MSR liaise with the Ministry of Labour and the National Training Authority in Namibia. Derick and Anmar was invited back to Windhoek to continue the discussions and the forging of ties and sharing of ideas. For further information follow MSR Namibia’s Facebook Page.
PhD candidate Sandra Makumbirofa spent the best part of July in Italy conducting surveys for her research project. Her focus is on Tourism Economics and her thesis forms part of the Green Bubbles project. Here is her report from the Mediterranean:
Sandra in Italy!
In my warm clothes, exhausted from the 10 hour flight from O.R Tambo airport Johannesburg, with two stop overs in Frankfurt then Munich, I finally arrived in Genoa, Italy to make my research debut in Europe. It was hot and humid as summer had just started. The streets were filled with people chattering in a language that sounded so passionate and captivating. Over the weeks I witnessed Italians speak with so much enthusiasm and hand gestures. It was always so fascinating to listen and watch them converse.
Overwhelmed with expectations and wonder, this is my first year PhD and I had the opportunity of doing a study based on fieldwork in Italy and therein, was embarking on my first data collection.
I was sampling Portofino Marine Protected Area (MPA), which involved engaging with dive operators in Rapallo and Santa Margherita. Portofino is a coastal resort town in the northwesterly province of Liguria. It is famous for its magnificent harbor and a favoured destination for the affluent and famous. My research is part of an EU funded project for sustainable diving called Green Bubbles RISE in collaboration with eight other entities from Italy, the Netherlands, Malta, Turkey and the United States. The sample population were scuba divers who were asked to fill out a questionnaire. As most natives do not speak English, the helpful dive operators assisted in ensuring we successfully obtained sufficient questionnaires.