Current Issues in Tourism
This paper explored a generic competitive strategy with which rural sub-Saharan Africa can place itself in a favourable position within the global tourism industry. Strategic analyses of the rural tourism resources and capabilities present in this sub-continent, rural tourism key success factors, the external environment of rural tourism development and the local institutional stakeholder groups led to the strategic choice of event-based rural tourism. Event-based rural tourism in which locals can stage events for tourists that will lead to establishing unique rural tourism experience is an emergent strategy that could create a balance between implementing bottom-up values (local values and community ownership) and the need to utilise top-down resources (national governments and not-for-profit organisations as partners in terms of business training and initial financing). This has the potential to lead sub-Saharan African nations to secure a brand identity in the global tourism marketplace, while preserving the unique cultural and natural heritage with which this sub-continent is endowed. The emergent generic strategy presented in this paper for rural sub-Saharan Africa however should be adapted with care according to specific local socio-economic and environmental conditions.