Limpopo does it big again at National Lilizela Awards 2016!

Sandton, Johannesburg: Sandton International Convention Centre was a hive of activity as the South African Tourism Minister, Mr. Derek Hanekom, honoured and acknowledged tourism excellence in South Africa. The Minister officiated at the fourth National Lilizela Awards held on Sunday evening, the 16th October 2016. Limpopo Province managed to send twenty four (24) of the provincial winners that were announced at the Provincial leg of the awards on the 20th September 2016 at Thaba Moshate Casino and Conventional Resort.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards are the premier tourism awards programme for tourism businesses in South Africa that aim to reward and celebrate excellence across the tourism industry. Lilizela is an Nguni word which means to ululate: A uniquely African act of congratulations when someone has done something good. Lilizela is a name that truly distinguishes these uniquely African awards from the mainstream.

As he congratulated the 2016 entrants and finalists the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Derek Hanekom said, “You are the golden thread that holds our country together, because you have all achieved the excellence that we are looking for-the excellence that drives the tourism demand, which translates into growth and ultimately jobs and livelihoods for our people”.

He further said, “To the winners: well what can I say? You have gone beyond excellence. Your success enhances your own reputation, the reputation the local destination you are part of and, of course, the reputation of destination South Africa. It is this reputation that is a driver of tourism in a globally competitive environment”.

The Minister further made remarks about the global tourism market, which is becoming more and more competitive every year. He stressed that the importance of attracting and capturing a bigger share of the global tourism market in Africa and South Africa cannot be overstated. He reminded the audience that international tourist arrivals declined in 2015. “The importance of domestic tourism likewise cannot be overstated. With the economy under strain, households do not have vast surpluses to spend on non-essentials.  And indeed we saw a decline in tourism in 2015, both in numbers and value. Whilst domestic tourism is unlikely to generate the revenue of international tourism, it is the lifeblood of the tourism sector”, he said.

The Minister is very optimistic about the future of tourism in South Africa. He said that his Ministry believes the number of international tourist arrivals can be grown by 50% in the next five years. He said that Government and the tourism industry are working together to improve market access through joint marketing agreements targeting some of the highest yielding markets.  The Minister awarded his award to the veteran award winning Ndebele artist, Ms. Esther Mahlangu.

The Awards recognize and reward tourism players and businesses that work passionately and proudly deliver world class service and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global competitiveness as a destination.

National winners from Limpopo Province that flew the provincial flag high are:

No. Name of Winner Category Star Grading District
1. Mashutti Country Lodge Country House 3 Mopani
2. Umlani Bush Camp 3 Star Game Lodge 3 Mopani
3. Zebula Golf Estate & Spa Self-catering 4 Waterberg
4. Sidney Fhumulani Mikosi Tourist Guides- Nature N/A Waterberg
5. Besty Travel ETEYA (Emerging Tourism Enterprise of the Year Award) N/A Capricorn

The CEO of LTA, Mr. Ndumiso Matlala, said, “We are grateful to have emerged with the quality winners from this prestigious tourism awards in the country. Endeavours like this boost confidence in the sector but give reason for our continued collaboration with the tourism industry. Heightened tourism excellence will help the sector sustain its resilience in spite of economic challenges thus creating much needed jobs and grow the province’s economy”.