Cape Town - The Lilizela Tourism Awards has announced its latest instalment of the annual ceremony that celebrates accommodation establishments and other tourism-related products and services in South Africa.
The official awards, an initiative of the National Department of Tourism, spearheaded by South African Tourism, will be taking place in September 2017.
Tourism businesses - ranging from accommodation establishments and tourist guides to visitor attractions in the tourism industry are invited to enter the 5th annual initiative.
The closing date for submissions is March 31.
“The criteria for the awards are constantly being refined, through ongoing consultation and feedback surveys, to ensure that hospitality establishments, venues, service providers and tourism attractions meet industry and traveller requirements. Because of the annual review that will follow each awards ceremony, entries will open in March from this year onwards,” says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona.
Ntshona says sustainability and contribution to inclusive growth have become important considerations in the adjudication process due to results of the most recent review .
“South African Tourism’s main objective is to work with the industry in contributing towards inclusive growth while helping to grow new players into the industry," says Ntshona. "The importance of transforming tourism and its feeder industries cannot be understated and this is why the awards are encouraging tourism businesses to embed a culture of inclusion in their DNA."
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According to Ntshona tourism has - more than any other sector - the potential to act as an engine for growth in South Africa. This includes the potential to create employment, generate foreign exchange, encourage entrepreneurship and act as a driver for other sectors of the economy.
“We have found through our interactions with the industry that there is a growing need for sustainable and responsible practices in all tourism enterprises.
“For this reason, from 2018 onwards we will be introducing specific sustainability criteria for the Lilizela Tourism Awards, to coincide with the intended Responsible Tourism recognition measures that are to be introduced by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa during the course of 2017. If tourism product owners place more focus in minimising their environmental impacts, it will add to South Africa’s attractiveness as a progressive, world-class tourism destination,”says Ntshona.
Ntshona says South Africa boasts a wealth of tourism jewels in its crown and through the annual Lilizela Tourism Awards, they hope to showcase these beacons of excellence and motivate them to continue delivering exceptional, authentic, memorable experiences to local and international travelers.
“Hospitality can be a challenging and highly demanding industry, and we want industry players to know that we value their efforts in helping South Africa to grow and diversify our tourism sector,” concludes Ntshona.
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