Free State Business 2021

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Tourism Culture and heritage have potential.


he global pandemic closed down the tourism sector and it Sector Insight will take some time to recover. The requirements for social Cancelled festivals will distancing mean that festivals will be one of the last types of mean job losses. tourism to restart. Bloemfontein has 151 rooms, This will be a big blow for the Free State, where festivals such as the and there is a Road Lodge at Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe) have become a fixture on the airport. many calendars. In 2019, a total of 921 temporary jobs were created at the festival. Other festivals that normally attract good crowds are The Rantsoareng Group the Cherry Festival (Ficksburg), the Rose Festival (Bloemfontein), the operates exclusively in the Free Clarens Craft Beer Festival and the Vintage Tractor Fair (Clocolan). State and has three properties, Bloemfontein’s Kunstefees celebrates artistic expression and the the biggest of which is the connections between cultures. President Hotel in Bloemfontein. Heritage is seen as a sector with growth potential. A Heroes’ Park is Sun International runs the to be constructed at Thaba Nchu and Tumahole with statues of Oliver Lesotho Sun and the Maseru Tambo and Fidel Castro. The much-delayed museum and statue at Brandfort to commemorate Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be opened in the course of the 2020/21 financial year. The Free State is a good destination for water recreation. The Gariep Dam offers resorts and large expanses of water on which pleasure crafts can meander. Forever Resorts runs a popular resort with chalet accommodation and a caravan park. Overlooking the dam is the 43-room de Stijl Gariep Hotel. The Vaal River is another popular place. The town of Parys, which also boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the shape of the Vredefort Dome, is geared to river sports. The annual NAMPO Harvest Day is a major event. In 2019 more than 81 000 people descended on the small town of Bothaville on the banks of the Vals River. Sun in neighbouring Lesotho. In 2019 the 88-room Splendid Inn Bloemfontein (pictured) was In Bloemfontein, the Windmill opened by Premier Hotels & Resorts. Protea Hotels has four properties Casino and Clarens Entertainment in the Free State, two in Bloemfontein, one in Harrismith and the Protea Image: Protea Hotel Centre offers slot machines and Hotel Clarens. gaming tables, plus conference The Tsogo Group’s properties include the four-star Southern Sun facilities. The four-star Willow Bloemfontein and the Goldfields Casino in Welkom. The City Lodge Lodge has 80 rooms. The Naledi Online Resources Sun Hotel and Casino is about 65km from Bloemfontein. Bloemfontein Tourism: The Golden Gate Highlands Free State Gambling, Liquor & Tourism Authority: National Park in the Maluti Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Mountains is one of South Tourism and Environmental Affairs: Africa’s great parks. ■