A night with the stars at the Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016

South African Tourism’s flagship award ceremony continues to be the toast of the travel industry for the 4th year since its inception in 2013

Sunday the 16th October 2016 was a night of honour and glamour when the South African tourism industry celebrated its top business owners and service providers at the fourth annual Lilizela Tourism Awards. South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, was joined by various key industry players at the star-studded gala event held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. The evening was hosted by media personalities Bonang Matheba and Jason Greer with Mi Casa, the Mzansi Youth Choir and the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra providing electrifying entertainment during the evening.

The occasion gave players and stakeholders in the country’s tourism industry the opportunity to come together to toast to ‘the best of the best’ in categories ranging from service excellence and entrepreneurship to sustainable development. The highlight of the evening was the prestigious Minister’s award which recognises tourism innovators and pioneers. This year the award went to renowned Mpumalanga artist, Esther Mahlangu. A previous Lilizela category winner in the Roots and Culture category, Mahlangu’s colourful Ndebele designs have been exhibited around the world and have graced global brands such as BMW, British Airways, Fiat and Belvedere luxury vodka, placing South African traditional art and design on the international map.

Entries for the 2017 Lilizela Tourism Awards open on the 1st March 2017 and close on the 31st May 2017. “Sustainable development, including universal access, is a key judging criteria and category in the 2017 Awards. The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) urges establishments to ensure their businesses are graded and that proportionate investments are made to ensure that facilities are accessible for able and disabled guests,” explained the SAT CEO, Sisa Ntshona.

All TGCSA graded establishments are encouraged to ask their guests to vote on the Lilizela Tourism Awards website.  While every effort will be put in place to promote the event to consumers, it is important that business owners or managers inform guests about the competition as voting still plays a major role in the judging process.  Entrants should make sure they use all the tools provided on the website to get as many votes as possible. Last year’s awards attracted a record number of 1122 entries, an increase of 18% compared to 2015.

Entry to the Lilizela Tourism Awards is free and tourism businesses of all sizes are encouraged to enter in a bid to help develop, grow and transform the industry. For more information, visit www.lilizela.co.za.