Lilizela Tourism Awards unveils provincial finalists

The exciting moment of truth is nearing for the 500 provincial finalists in the fifth annual Lilizela Tourism Awards, as the South African travel industry gathers to honour its brightest, finest and most admired tourism businesses.

South African Tourism announced the finalists from the nine provinces this week, drawn from an extremely competitive field of more than 1 600 entries, exceeding last year’s tally by almost 50%.

The winners across a range of categories, such as service excellence, sustainable development and entrepreneurship, will be toasted at provincial awards ceremonies during Tourism Month in September ahead of the national awards in October.

Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa extended her warm congratulations to all the provincial finalists, saying: “We salute these outstanding tourism businesses spanning the length and breadth of South Africa. Being selected as a Lilizela Tourism Awards finalist means you are among the best of the best in the country – that you are truly in a league of your own. We thank each one of you for your valuable contribution to making South Africa an attractive and globally competitive tourism destination.”

The full list of provincial finalists can be viewed on the Lilizela Tourism Awards website

The provincial awards ceremonies will take place as follows:

  • KwaZulu-Natal on 7 September
  • Free State on 7 September
  • Mpumalanga on 8 September;
  • Limpopo on 15 September;
  • Northern Cape on 18 September 2017;
  • Western Cape on 19 September;
  • North West on 20 September;
  • Eastern Cape on 21 September; and
  • Gauteng on 29 September.

The national winners, drawn from these provincial champions, will be announced at a gala event in Johannesburg on 29 October.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards were established in 2013 to recognise and applaud outstanding service among accommodation establishments and other tourism-related products and services.

“The Lilizela Tourism Awards are our way of thanking our dedicated travel industry for their hard work in setting the bar high and helping to make South Africa such a highly regarded must-visit destination, for local and international tourists alike,” Minister Xasa said.

“We thank all those tourism and hospitality businesses that took the time to enter the Lilizela Tourism Awards, and particularly to our provincial partners for ensuring that a cross-section of South Africa’s diverse experiences is represented. We congratulate all the provincial finalists and wish them the best of luck – you are all stars in your own right.”

The awards were adjudicated through both a public vote (using data from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa’s Tourism Analytics Programme, which consolidates user reviews for establishments with an online presence, along with public votes on the Lilizela Tourism Awards website) and a 30-member judging panel. This meant that 80% of the scores came from consumers and 20% from adjudicators.

The panel, made up of industry professionals and travel practitioners, evaluated accommodation establishments, tourist guides and tour operators, as well as facilities catering for meetings, exhibitions and special events. Exceptional visitor experiences in an array of categories were also assessed.

Particular attention was paid to emerging black-owned tourism start-ups and small enterprises, as well as to establishments that have taken steps to improve their universal accessibility status (by welcoming and accommodating guests with special needs such as physical disabilities).

The adjudication process and results were audited by Grant Thornton.

For more details, visit www.lilizela.co.za, or like the Lilizela Tourism Awards Facebook page or follow @Lilizela_Awards on Twitter for regular updates.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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