Despite an abundance of natural attractions, historical sites and scenic beauty, residents in the Free State do not travel within their province. The majority of the citizens of the Free State have not had the opportunity of visiting tourist attractions even when they are just a stone’s throw from their places of residence.
September has been declared tourism month, during which World Tourism Day (WTD) is celebrated on the 27th globally.
To promote the province as a tourism destination of choice and bring awareness to the challenges and opportunities in the sector, the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), together with its strategic partners will be commemorating tourism month with various activities that seek to instill a culture of travel amongst the people of the province and in return contribute positively to the economic growth of the Free State.
The targeted markets for this campaign are stokvels, social clubs, burial societies, schools, churches and family reunions.
According to available statistics, South Africa had a total tourism spending of R 296 billion in 2018 and an average annual growth rate of 6.8% over the period. In the Free State the tourism spending as a percentage of GDP was 5.55% in 2018. Tourism spending as a percentage of GDP for 2018 was 6.06% in South Africa as a whole. The Free State had a total tourism spending of R 13.6 billion in 2018 with an average annual growth rate of 8.4% since 2008 (R 6.06 billion).
This tourism month, Free State will be a destination of choice with events and campaigns such as:
- The 7th Annual Provincial Lilizela Awards – 26 September 2019
- Kasie Tourism, Lejweleputswa District – 28 September 2019
- Media Familiarisation Tour, Cheetah and Springbok Routes – 19 – 22 September 2019
- Hiking Heritage Extravaganza – 20 – 22 September 2019
- #Keyalewena Short ‘Left Travel Week – 23 – 29 September 2019
- Closing of Tourism Month – 30 September 2019