Local firms scoop tourism awards

2016-09-29 06:00
: Esti Stewart, Marketing Director of the KLTO, receives the award for the Chokka Trail from  Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Sakhumzi Somyo , and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency CEO Vuyani Dayimani.  photo: SUPPLIED

: Esti Stewart, Marketing Director of the KLTO, receives the award for the Chokka Trail from Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Sakhumzi Somyo , and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency CEO Vuyani Dayimani. photo: SUPPLIED

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FIVE local adventure and tourism organisations scooped seven major provincial tourism awards at the 2016 Lilizela Tourism Awards held at the Hemingways Casino in East London on September 22.

Stormsriver Adventures took top honours with Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours being voted the establishment with the best general universal accessibility, as well as the best B-BBEE establishment in the Qualifying Small Enterprise category. The Cape St Francis Resort received an award for Club Break, the best three-star self catering establishment as well as an award for the best five-star self-catering establishment, Beach Break.

The Chokka Trail was a finalist in three Visitor Experience categories and triumphed in the Beach Experience Category, while Island Vibes (Backpacking and Hosteling) and Seashells Luxury Accommodation (Self-catering Exclusive) won their respective categories. They will now attend the national award ceremony to be held in Johannesburg on October 16.

A total of 365 entries were received from businesses in the Eastern Cape, 133 qualified as provincial finalists and 43 were announced as provincial winners.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards is a national government initiative aimed at promoting tourism transformation, service excellence, entrepreneurship, and thriving and sustainable tourism. The awards are a platform to re-cognise and celebrate tourism players and businesses that work passionately to make the Eastern Cape a preferred tourist destination.

The awards also profile milestones of the tourism sector, while putting its challenges to the fore, for collective address and resolutions.

Since their inception four years ago, the awards have grown from 75 entries in 2013 to 365 in 2016. Eastern Cape participants have been leading as the most active province nationally, displaying a huge commitment by businesses towards responsible tourism that positively impacts on the country’s economic growth.

Categories awarded are:

  • Service Excellence for accommodations, visitor experiences, tourists guides and tourist operators
  • Sustainable Development that looks at awarding those who achieve transformation within the sector by partaking in the transformation initiatives that view BBBEE as business imperatives
  • Entrepreneurship through the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA) category, the awards programme also contributes towards the growth and deve-lopment of tourism or hospitality related businesses operating on small, micro and medium levels - an area that is crucial for transformation of the sector and growth of its economy
  • The coveted Minister’s Award that is made at the sole discretion of the National Minister of Tourism and goes to an organisation, person or event whose contribution to the industry has elevated tourism’s status as a vital sector of the national economy.

According to the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency’s CEO, Vuyani Dayimani, finalists and winners do not only set the standard for global excellence, but also demonstrate why South Africa and its provinces continue to be one of the most frequently visited destinations by tourists from all over the world.

“As an agency that is charged with the mandate of promoting the tourism sector of the province, we are proud of initiatives like these, as they help us showcase the best of what our provinces have to offer.”

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