The Lilizela National Tourism Awards is less than a month away and here's what you need to know

2018-10-31 14:00 - Saara Mowlana
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lilizela provincial winners

The 2018 Lilizela Awards Provincial winners who are now the National finalists. (Photo: Supplied)

The National Lilizela Tourism Awards are nearly here and the South African tourism industry is gearing up in anticipation. 

The awards will highlight and celebrate the best of the best in Saffa's tourism and hospitality industry, recognising the businesses and individuals that give SA the platform to be a thriving market for tourists.

Marking its sixth year running, the awards ceremony will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Saturday 17 November, presented by renowned media personalities Leanne Manas and Xolani Gwala.

ICYMI: Lilizela Awards 2018: The 28 judges that will decide on SA's 'best of the best' in the tourism industry

CEO of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona, said that locals are not only warm and welcoming people, but also passionate people who put in the work to make sure that our country remains a competitive tourism destination for global visitors. He believes that this attitude is vital as tourism is a very people-orientated market and is about appealing to the human aspect of travel. 

"The Lilizela Tourism awards are about acknowledging and recognising these individuals for the sterling job they do every day in contributing to our economy through the high levels of service excellence their business offer to travellers," Ntshona added. 

CHECK OUT LAST YEAR'S WINNERS: SA's tourism shines bright at annual Lilizela Awards 

lilizela provincial winners

Some of the 2018 Lilizela Awards Provincial winners who are now the national finalists. (Photo: Supplied) 

How national contenders were chosen:

There was a provincial round of the awards which wrapped up at the end of September and crowned businesses and individuals offering the best tourism products and services across the nine provinces. There was an open call to local businesses and individuals in the tourism industry to submit entries - which closed on 8 June 2018

The categories crowned included visitor experience, tour operators and tour guides, accommodation and entrepreneurship.

The crowned gems of the provincial round will now vie for the coveted spot as the country's top shot in each of the national editions of these categories. 

You can find the list of finalists here.

READ: Lilizela Tourism Awards 2018 calls on the industry's ‘best of the best’ to enter

How votes are weighted:

The votes of the awards are sourced from a range of sources.

Around 80% came from travel platforms like TripAdvisor and the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa's (TGCSA) Tourism Analytics Programme. The TripAdvisor aspect accounts for user-related experience and engagement with the service or product provided - as Ntshona highlighted, tourism is about people. 

The remaining 20% was comprised from a panel of high-level judges - whose voting was strictly supervised by accounting company Grant Thornton to ensure compliance.

lilizela provincial winners

The 2018 Lilizela Awards Provincial winners who are now the national finalists. (Photo: Supplied)  

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The category to watch:

One of the most exciting categories at the awards is the Emerging Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA). This category seeks to recognise and motivate black entrepreneurs who operate small, micro and medium tourism- or other hospitality-related businesses.

It can also in turn promote and foster the space for more of these businesses to sprout and grow in strength across the country - boosting the industry's economy as well. 

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