The Palace. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Palace. Picture: SUPPLIED

As much as R1bn has been spent on upgrading the Sun City entertainment centre over the past five years, and owner Sun International believes the development remains a popular leisure destination for South Africans.

The centre was relaunched this week. Group general manager for brand and communications at Sun International, Michael Farr, expects the festive season to be a busy one for Sun City.

Grizly Quads. Picture: SUPPLIED
Grizly Quads. Picture: SUPPLIED

"Sun City is an iconic tourism product. It’s an authentic South African destination which still appeals to South Africans more than thirty years after it opened," said Farr.

"Sun City has remained popular since its opening, but we felt it needed a complete overhaul and took the decision to invest over R1bn to do just that. We’ve put this investment into making the resort even more attractive to families, gamblers, convention visitors and a host of new, niche tourists such as adrenalin seekers, ecotourists and millennials.

"We are confident that, with this massive refurb and upgrade, Sun City will not only retain its status as SA’s favourite leisure destination, but will also recapture its place as the premier convention venue in the country," he said.

He expected Sun City to receive about 1-million visitors this year, beating 2015’s performance.

Valley of the Waves. Picture: SUPPLIED
Valley of the Waves. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sun City, located in the North West Province, was opened in 1979. The idea was to create a Las Vegas-type gambling and leisure experience. Frank Sinatra and Queen were two international music stars who performed there soon after it opened.

The complex now offers various hotels and water sports facilities including the Valley of Waves. It also houses the Gary Player Golf Course which hosts the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge. Farr said the golf event was now part of the European Tour which would bring more visitors. "The field of players has increased and we hope that, by making the event more prestigious, we will get more patrons," he said.

Letsatsi Conference Centre. Picture: SUPPLIED
Letsatsi Conference Centre. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sun City’s conference centre has also been upgraded and has a very strong WiFi and general information technology offering.

Sun International believes Sun City can compete with other domestic and international tourist destinations this festive season. There are now two flights daily from both Cape Town and Johannesburg to Sun City.

The Brew Monkey. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Brew Monkey. Picture: SUPPLIED

The entertainment complex does, however, have to compete for their share of tourists with the Western Cape, which is undoubtedly the most popular destination in the country.

Wayne Troughton of HTI Consulting said the Western Cape’s major tourist season is starting as early as September. Various European tourists had been visiting SA when the weather was not necessarily at its peak, he said.

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