Businesses in the tourism sector are seeing signs of slight recovery and they said they're adapting to the new normal just to keep business afloat.
StatsSA Tourism 2020 report indicated that foreign arrivals dropped by 71% from just over 15.8 million in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020. This had dire consequences for businesses in the formal and informal sector with the revenue stream taking downward slope due to the COVID-19 regulations.
But the tourism sector in the Free State said it is experiencing some signs of recovery as it finds new ways to survive the pandemic.
Owner of Whistler Rum in Ventersburg, Leon Bruns, said he adapted to the changed environment to sustain and grow the business.
“We want to focus on Africa. We are born, raised and we live here. Everyone we know is from here, so why not promote Africa?
"Everything we do is geared toward that, from the raw materials we use to the manufacturing materials that are produced locally and the people. So everything is done locally. We don’t make rum, but we tell a story," said Bruns.
The biggest rum distillery in Southern Africa was identified as one the tourist attraction sites in the Free State. This as the Department of Tourism prepares to launch Tourism Month in the province on Friday.
Mining assessor at Sibanye Stillwater, Khaya Tshembese, said the mining sector is also contributing positively towards the tourism sector.
Beatrix mine shaft has a makeshift shaft used as a tourist attraction in the area. The miners who work at the gold mines offer tours showcasing the hard work, dangers of mining and technical expertise that is put into gold production.
Free State MEC for Small Business Development, Makalo Mohale, said the province has a little bit of everything, making it the perfect tourist destination.
The Department of Tourism hosted a tour of the Free State tourist attraction sites.