Balancing people and park: Towards a symbiotic relationship between cape town and table mountain national park
Tourism is not only an economic but also a social and political agent that affects a wider natural and socio-cultural environment. To be successful as a tool of poverty reduction, tourism must be seen as one dimension of a destination's economy and society. In the context of a world-class urban national park yielding major economic benefits for the Cape Town and Western Cape tourism economies, this paper focuses on a variety of symbiotic relationships existing between the people of Cape Town and the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). First, the current literature is reviewed to provide a conceptual base for protected areas (PAs) within urban environments and to appraise the importance of the local community's appreciation of this natural resource base. Secondly, the wide user base of the TMNP is placed within its socio-economic context. Thirdly, two poverty-relief projects, Ukuvuku and Mountain of Jobs, are introduced to reflect on TMNP's commitments to biodiversity conservation and social responsibility. Fourthly, the value Capetonians place on being the custodians of this world-class natural heritage site is discussed. Lastly, this paper appeals to other cities in the developing world to manage and nurture salubrious relationships between Pas and their neighbours carefully. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.