Lilizela awards to reward tourism excellence

Durban: Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk has launched the Lilizela awards which recognise excellence across the tourism industry.

“No industry can be measured on one single thing, but achievements in different areas should be recognised. This is why the awards will be expanded in time to include the range of products and services across the tourism value chain,” he said.

Van Schalkwyk was speaking at the Lilizela Tourism Award launch at the 2013 Tourism Indaba held at the Durban Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre on Saturday.

Lilizela is an Nguni word which means to ululate: an act of congratulations when someone has done something well. The Awards will recognise and reward tourism players and businesses who work passionately and with pride to deliver a world class product and service and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global destination competitiveness.

Van Schalkwyk said the awards will acknowledge and applaud the efforts of people whose work sets global benchmarks in excellence. They will be rewarded across a number of broad categories: Service Excellence, Emerging Entrepreneur, Tourism Responsibility and Sustainability, Universal Accessibility and, lastly, the Minister’s Award.

He said, now tourism businesses in South Africa have something more to strive for in addition to profitability and a healthy, robust bottom line.

At the launch the Minister unveiled the five initial Award categories out of the seven envisaged. In time, he said, up to eighteen sub-categories would be recognised.

The 2013 award categories are:

Minister’s Award:Recognises outstanding, unique, impactful people, events, organisations that have performed in a manner that urges the industry closer to tourism’s 2020 vision (to grow arrivals to 15 million and create 225 000 new jobs by 2020. Total direct and indirect GDP contribution target from R189.4 billion (2009) to R499 billion (2020).
Service Excellence:How well tourism products are doing in this area. A large portion of the decisions for this award will be made based on guest feedback. Measurements have been put in place to allow the public to cast their vote. The Accommodation sector will be recognised during this first year, with the other service providers and operators to follow.
Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA): This award recognises black owned SMME’s who have achieved notable success since starting up.
Universal Accessibility:Facilities and services at accommodation establishments and venues that are accessible for people with disabilities, using the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa grading criteria which were introduced with the normal quality grading criteria back in 2010.
Sustainability Award:This award will recognise the business that best incorporates the three development and sustainability pillars into their business operating models and the IMVELO brand will be incorporated accordingly.
The overall winners from each category will be announced at a ceremony in September 2013, which will be preceded by provincial recognition awards to be handed out at provincial events.