South African travel writing and bias

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis spotlights the travel and leisure magazine industry within South Africa. It contends that the travel writing genre is susceptible to a number of biases, both past and present, which ultimately affect the way its overall content is produced and presented to the public. This work was substantiated through a set of qualitative interviews with key professionals within the South African travel and leisure magazine industry, as well as through a theme- based content analysis of a number of local travel writing publications. This study adds to a rather extensive line of research written on the topic of travel writing regarding a number of older criticisms of bias including 'othering', escapism, and gendering. However, it also focuses on a number of more modem biases such as direct advertising, advertorial usage, as well as the acceptance of 'freebies' and barter agreements, none of which has been given much attention in previous research. The sheer existence of these and other biases within the modem South African travel and leisure magazine industry exhibits an absolute necessity of examination into such a topic, especially given the importance and overall influence that the travel writing industry has on a country's economic standing and overall image.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 92-96).