More tourists visit the Free State

Eastern Free State mountains and lake. Photo: André Grobler

The number of tourists traveling to the Free State grew by 15 percent last year compared to the previous year.
Free State received in 2015 about 1,2 million more visitors than in 2014.Tourism minister Derek Hanekom said this increase means the province can grow the number further.
Speaking at a Free State tourism celebration at Parys yesterday, Hanekom said the national department of tourism wants to attract an additional five million tourists to South Africa. “We believe we can grow the number of international tourist arrivals by 50 percent over the next five years.”
He said the Free State has the tourist attractions to get more visits. This include MACUFE, the Mangaung African Cultural Festival, the Basotho Cultural Village and places such as Clarens, the Cherry Festival, the Gariep Dam and the Vredefort Dome.
Hanekom said the Free State’s natural and cultural tourism products have huge potential to attract more domestic tourists. The secret to get more domestic visits is to make it more affordable for local people. “Tourism businesses who create affordable access for the domestic market will be rewarded by additional customers.”
The minister feels that the more South Africans explore their diversity through tourism, the better they will understand one another and be tied together as one nation. –
André Grobler / Bloemfontein Courant