Presenter Bios (50 Words)

Laeticia Jacobs (nee van Wyk) is a Deputy Director at the National Department of Tourism in South Africa. She has 10 years experience in the tourism industry, previously also working as the tourism research analyst for the Western Cape Province and tourism product development for the Northern Cape Province in South Africa. She has graduated her PhD in Tourism Management at the University of Pretoria. Her PhD research topic investigates the aspect of astro-tourism (including celestial and space tourism) as the key niche to drive rural route development. She has also co-authored academic articles on destination branding, transformation and skills shortages in the tourism sector respectively.

Abstract (150 Words)

The purpose of this paper is to understand the potential of niche market-based tourism routes to facilitate sustainable development in a rural destination context. Using Astro Tourism as the focal niche, a proposed framework depicts the stakeholder linkages eminent in an integrated process of product development. Towns in the Karoo arid region of the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, were selected as a region with limited resources and extreme poverty, yet housing two world-class astronomy projects (the South African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The study framework highlights the importance of establishing a coordinating forum through which the tourism offering can be conceptualised as both a developmental and promotional initiative plan undertaken collectively.

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Rough road to the stars: A route development framework for Astro Tourism in the Karoo arid region

The purpose of this paper is to understand the potential of niche market-based tourism routes to facilitate sustainable development in a rural destination context. Using Astro Tourism as the focal niche, a proposed framework depicts the stakeholder linkages eminent in an integrated process of product development. Towns in the Karoo arid region of the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, were selected as a region with limited resources and extreme poverty, yet housing two world-class astronomy projects (the South African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The study framework highlights the importance of establishing a coordinating forum through which the tourism offering can be conceptualised as both a developmental and promotional initiative plan undertaken collectively.