South Africa's pioneers,
innovators, stalwarts and small and medium enterprises
in the tourism industry were among the biggest winners
on Sunday, 29 October, when the fifth annual Lilizela
Tourism Awards shut down the Sandton Convention Centre
with an unforgettable night of the stars.
Lilizela Tourism Awards are an initiative of the
National Department of Tourism and are spearheaded by
South African Tourism.
Established in 2013, the awards recognise and reward
exemplary service among businesses in the local tourism
sector, including accommodation establishments and tour
operators to scenic attractions and cultural heritage
sites. The awards are adjudicated through public votes
and by a panel of industry judges and are audited by
The national Lilizela Tourism Awards are the culmination
of the nine provincial ceremonies held across the
country, which reward outstanding establishments in each
of those areas. These provincial winners then vied for
top honours in the national finals, held on Sunday.
Identified by the Government as one of the six pillars
of the country's future economic growth, the Minister of
Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, paid special tribute to South
Africa's outstanding small tourism businesses.
Some of the SMMEs that were finalists or scooped awards
on the night had been beneficiaries of the National
Department of Tourism's market access and enterprise
"You add diversity and new flavours to our tourism
offering and you contribute to social cohesion and
empower communities," said Minister Xasa. "You are
entrepreneurs who are contributing to our economy, by
creating jobs that feed families and nourish
communities. You are the living embodiment of the
inclusive, transformed economic growth that our country
In addition to the awards handed out in a number of
categories, Minister Xasa also announced unprecedented
multiple recipients of this year's Minister's Award to
mark the five-year anniversary of the Lilizela Tourism
This prestigious award recognises proudly South African
organisations or individuals who, through sheer
dedication and passion, have excelled in positioning the
country as a tourism destination of choice, contributing
to the vibrancy and growth of the sector.
Sindiswa Nhlumayo was honoured posthumously for her
immense contribution to the tourism industry.
World-renowned Ndebele artist and industrial designer,
Esther Mahlangu, was inducted into the inaugural Hall of
Fame for being an exemplary global ambassador for South
Africa's indigenous arts and cultural heritage.
Some of the category winners also included The Workshop
ko kasi (Culture and Lifestyle), Baviaanskloof (Scenic
Beauty), Soweto By Bike (Roots & Culture), The Gorge
Private Lodge and Spa (Best Five-star Game Lodge), and
The Oyster Box (Five-Star Hotel Award for Service
Excellence). ¡V Source: Traveller24