A local community home stay initiative in Limpopo got special recognition at the Lilizela Tourism Awards this year for their creative way of embracing tourism as a vessel for change in their community. The 6th annual Lilizela Tourism Awards took place on the 17th of November at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. The premier travel and tourism awards celebrate tourism players and businesses whose hard work grows South Africa’s competitiveness as a global destination. But what made this year’s awards stand out from previous years was the inclusion of an original initiative coined I Do Tourism. What is the I Do Tourism movement? South African Tourism launched the I Do Tourism (IDT) initiative at the annual Travel Indaba last year. The initiative seeks to remind South Africans of the importance of the tourism industry and the role they can play as advocates for South Africa and for tourism. The purpose of the campaign, according to SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona, is to show the economic and social value of tourism in South Africa. “Tourism has a ripple effect,” Ntshona notes. “Each direct permanent tourism job opportunity that is created can have multiple spin-offs for transport, agriculture and other sectors.” Who won the gold? All the way from Northern Limpopo, Traditional African Homestays South Africa (TAHS-SA) took home the gold as the 2018 winner of the I Do Tourism award. The Honourable Minster of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, chose TAHS-SA as the recipient for the I Do Tourism award from the MEC’s winners of the Lilizela Provincial awards. Based in Makushu-Mosholombi village, TAHS-SA is a collective of 25 families who opened their homes to international and local visitors to give them an authentic South-African experience. TAHS-SA’s main focus is to use tourism as a vehicle to uplift the community. The bookings made then contribute to a local non-profit organisation, Tshikhala, and the village fund, Gondoliswa, that runs the old age home and crèche. “The award is really a stake in the ground for us and we’re humbled by it,” says TAHS-SA member and co-founder Cameron Murray. He told News24 that the beauty of their homestay is that they didn’t need to reinvent the wheel for a unique tourism experience. “People underestimate the power of human connection,” he says. Kylie Henn, who founded TAHS-SA alongside Murray in August 2017, says that TAHS-SA is a vehicle to uplift the community from grassroot levels over and above being a tourism initiative. “ I Do Tourism “We need domestic market to conquer. Let’s all do Tourism. Limpopo took it home ???????? @go_limpopo #lilizelaawards18 .. pic.twitter.com/ZyHCgyunt7— colourfulpairofeyes (@colourfulpairo2) November 17, 2018 This post in sponsored by South African Tourism produced by BrandStudio24 for Traveller24.