Tourism offers a host of opportunities

2016-09-21 06:00
UNATHI HENAMA, social observer.

UNATHI HENAMA, social observer.

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SEPTEMBER is not just Tourism Month. It is also Heritage Month.

It is imperative to contribute to the national discourse about the tourism industry, as it drives the Free State’s and the country’s economy.

Tourism Month is always launched in lagging provinces, including the Free State, which as such must seize the opportunity.

I still grapple with why the Free State lags behind as a tourist-attraction.

The biggest problem in the Free State and in South Africa specifically, is a “babalas’’, also known as a hangover. I refer to the one with horns, not the hangover from excessive alcohol drinking.

For years, South Africa depended on gold mining for economic growth, a of gold mining has seen a downturn, as there was no plan to diversify the economy.

South Africa’s hangover on gold mining has been aggravated by the paucity of political leadership that has beset our beloved republic.

Bloemfontein’s (Mangaung’s) central location in the South African logistics system (rail tracks and national roads) to attract tourists is not exploited to its full potential.

Bloemfontein can be a mini Dubai. This city has created an aviation hub that has reduced prices, making half of the world’s population fly through it.

Evidence of Bloemfontein having potential as a tourist attraction is the thousands of cars, busses and trucks on the N1, leading to Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

If we broaden our thinking, the Free State will become a tourists-attraction.

As we seek tangible means to economic growth via tourism, it is important to support the e-hailing taxi service by Uber (a smartphone-driver taxi service) which has increased intra-city transportation.

If taxis really are efficient, why do you never find them servicing university students that have late classes?

I urge the citizens of Mangaung to download the Uber application to increase the chance of launching this taxi service.

Uber has served to assure parents that their children will have a safe journey home.

Unlike maxi-taxis, details of the Uber driver are known by the passenger and all and sundry is electronic.

The Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe) is imminent and can boost tourist attractions, because accommodation is always sold out.

Even ex-Fifa boss Sepp Blatter knows that.

The AirBnb (an online marketplace that easily enables people to find accommodation), is yet another avenue in the accommodation industry.

  • With accommodation sold out during Macufe, Airbnb is the answer, as it offers people with available rooms to register for marketing. In return they will have an equitable share from money spent during Macufe. Unathi Henama teaches Tourism at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and writes in his personal capacity. ) Express welcomes anyone interested to contribute to the weekly column.

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