Astro Tourism explored with star-gazing experience

Attendants were able to take a closer look at some of the planets through the telescope. Photo: Bonolo Moloi

Exploring Astro Tourism as one of the important contributors to the development of the province, the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea), in collaboration with the University of the Free State (UFS), held an Astro tourism and star gazing experience at the Naval Hill Planetarium and the Boyden Observatory.

On the day, tour operators and others in attendance were taken through a tour of the Naval Hill Planetarium, the Franklin Game Reserve, and lastly the Boyden Observatory.

The tour was held to develop, implement and promote niche tourism experiences such as Astro Tourism. The goal was to promote it as one of the attractions that will distinguish the province and give it a competitive edge.

According to Dr Molapo Qhobela, the Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Strategic Partnerships and Societal Impact (UFS), Astro Tourism has incredible potential not only solely in our province but in the country as a whole as a tourism package.

“We appreciate this partnership with the department, and we would like this experience to extend far beyond being an experience just for locals but we would like it to attract international guests as well. In 2024, South Africa will be hosting the general assembly of the International Astronomical Union, so this could be an opportunity for those guests to experience Astro Tourism in Bloemfontein,” says Qhobela.

According to a statement released by Destea, this initiative is one of the first steps in strengthening government and private sector partnerships.

Bonolo Moloi