Ernie Heath, University of Pretoria: Emeritus Professor

Ernie Heath is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, where he was head of the Department of Tourism Management for 15 years. Previously he served on the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Education Council and was also Deputy Executive Director of South African Tourism, where he was responsible for the international marketing and domestic tourism promotion of the country. He was also a founding trustee of the Open Africa Initiative and serves on the Board of Regents for the Sustainable Tourism Professionals Programme. He is an experienced tourism practitioner, consultant, facilitator and educator, for which he has received local and international recognition, including awards from Skål International, the UNWTO, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization (IOTO). His broad interests are primarily in the fields of tourism futures, small town tourism development and marketing, community tourism advancement, strategic tourism destination marketing and tourism management education and capacity building.

With more than thirty years of experience in the tourism sphere as an educator, consultant, facilitator and practitioner, I remain committed to adding value to the advancement of responsible tourism, particularly within my spheres of experience and interest, namely destination leadership and marketing, as well as the facilitation of small town tourism development and marketing.

am interested in how the dynamically changing macro, competitive and market environment is impacting on tourism stakeholders, particularly destination leaders, and how they are strategically responding to these changes and the increasing disruption that is taking place in various spheres of the tourism industry.


NATIONALITY:              South African

MARITAL STATUS:       Married with three sons

POSITION:                   Emeritus Professor, University of Pretoria and Visiting Professor, University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany


  • Strategic Tourism Management
  • Strategic Destination Marketing and Management
  • Tourism Events Management and Marketing
  • Rural and Community Tourism Development and Promotion



  • BCom Stellenbosch University                        1975
  • BCom Hons Stellenbosch University                        1977
  • MCom (Cum Laude) University of Fort Hare               1981
  • DCom University of Port Elizabeth      1987



  • Fellow of the Tourism Society of Britain
  • Fellow of the Institute of Marketing Management
  • Founding Trustee of the Open Africa Initiative
  • Past specialist strategic advisor to the Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation (IOTO)
  • Served as member of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Education Council
  • Board of Regents for the Sustainable Tourism Professionals Programme



  • Recipient of the Chairman’s Award of Merit for 1999 from the Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation (IOTO)
  • Recipient of the SKÅL International Presidential Award for 2000 for his contribution to the development of tourism in South Africa.
  • Included in the international “Who’s Who in the World” for 2001 for his international contribution to participative community tourism development and destination marketing.
  • Received a World-TedQual Themis Award from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) during 2002 in recognition of his contribution to the global development of research, education and training in tourism.
  • Recipient of a Laureates Award from the University of Pretoria for Innovation in Teaching in 2004.
  • Recognition as a Destination Champion by Destination Marketing Association International in 2009.
  • Recipient of a Best Teacher Award from the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany in 2010 and 2011.
  • Recipient of a Best PhD Seminar Supervisor Award at the Advances Tourism Marketing Conference, Slovenia, September 2011.
  • Co-recipient of the Award for the Best Research Paper, at the International Conference on Tourism and Events, Belfast, June 2012.
  • Recipient of an Alumni Achiever Award from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 2012.



  • Emeritus Professor, University of Pretoria                                                                     2016 to date
  • Visiting Professor, University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany                         2005 to date
  • Professor, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria                    2013 to 2016
  • Professor and Head, Department of Tourism Management, University of Pretoria      96 to 2012
  • Director, Centre for AfrikaTourism, University of Pretoria                                         98 – 2001
  • Deputy Executive Director, South African Tourism           94 – 95
  • Chief Director, Tourism Promotion, South African Tourism            90 – 94
  • Professor and Director, Institute for Planning Research, University of Port Elizabeth 90 – 90



  • Co-author of fourteen tourism books, some of which are internationally distributed
  • More than eighty papers, including ten keynote addresses, at international conferences and workshops
  • More than one hundred and fifty research, consultancy and other reports in the tourism and related fields.