Tourism in South Africa comprises 9.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but remains an underresearched industry, especially regarding the quantification of the risks prevailing in the social, political and economic environment in which the industry operates. Risk prediction, extrapolation forecasting is conducted largely in the context of a qualitative methodology. This article reflects on the quantification of social constructs as variables of risk in the tourism industry with reference to South Africa. The theory and methodology of quantification is briefly reviewed and the indicators of risk are
conceptualized and operationalized. The identified indicators are scaled in indices for purposes of quantification. Risk assessments and the quantification of constructs rely heavily on the experience - often personal - of the researcher and this scholarly endeavour is, therefore, not inclusive of all possible identified indicators of risk. It is accepted that tourism in South Africa is an industry comprising of a large diversity of sectors, each with a different set of risk indicators and risk profiles. The emphasis of this article is thus on the methodology to be applied to a risk profile. A secondary endeavour is to provide for clarity about the conceptual and operational confines of risk in general, as well as how quantified risk relates to the tourism industry. The indices provided include both domestic and international risk indicators. The motivation for the article is to encourage a greater emphasis on quantitative research in our efforts to understand and manage a risk profile for the tourist industry.